JRF Comment on Postcode Poverty Report
- 28 Mar
Read full blog by Chris Goulden,
Head of Poverty at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Research by the New Policy Institute for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has canvassed all 326 English local councils about their plans and analysed the impact on families on low incomes. This shows that 2.4 million such families are facing a tax increase of an average of £138 over the coming year.
The national Council Tax Benefit (CTB) scheme has been abolished and local authorities have had to devise their own systems, albeit with 10% less funding. A decision was made by the UK government to protect pensioners, which means tax rises are mainly being passed onto those of working-age.
Although nearly 60 councils in England (as well as the Scottish and Welsh Governments) will retain their current arrangements, absorbing the cut into their overall budgets, most will increase the tax on residents whether they are out of work or not. A smaller number - around 300,000 - will have to pay over £300 a year more and 1.9 million will have to start paying Council Tax for the first time.
Two out of three families getting the old CTB were already below the income poverty line and the new support schemes will eat into their incomes even further at a time when they can ill-afford it. [There are] also shows 300,000 families hovering just above the poverty line, who are in danger of falling below it once those large tax increases have to be paid.
This is going to be difficult for councils to collect, but even harder for people to pay. Making up the shortfall will be beyond most, with working hours under pressure and benefits falling behind inflation.
And the impact of the changes is clear - they are going to hit the pockets of families in poverty.
Read full blog by Sabrina Bushe,
Researcher at the New Policy Institute.
Today, JRF publishes research conducted by the New Policy Institute on the localisation of Council Tax Benefit (CTB).
The headline finding is that 2.4 million low-income families will pay on average £138 more in council tax in 2013/14. Of these families, nearly 1.9 million currently pay nothing in council tax as they are considered too poor. Around 150,000 families will pay £300 or more a year extra in council tax.
Not every council is changing how Council Tax Benefit works - 58 of councils (18 per cent) are maintaining support at the same level. The majority, however, are requiring everyone, regardless of income, to pay some council tax. This minimum payment varies in amount from place to place (and can work quite differently depending on how it is implemented).
People in the same circumstances but in different council areas will now face different levels of support. For example, a family containing someone in receipt of Disability Living Allowance in the Wiltshire local council area will not be any worse off in April, as the disabled are a protected group in this scheme. But the same family living in the Derby Council area (for example, in a band A property, with a weekly income of £209) would be £180 a year worse off under the new local scheme.
This reform has been promoted as an important step for local democracy that allows for policy design that more effectively reflects local needs or priorities. A variety of different schemes may also help to determine the optimum combination of work incentives and protection of the poor.
The variety of different schemes will, however, add complexity and reduce the transparency of the council tax benefit system. The localisation of CTB also has serious implications for fairness, as claimants with the same needs and incomes are entitled to different amounts of support based on where they live, rather than their ability to pay.
- 28 Aug
Figures find thousands of benefit claimants died after found fit for work
Over 80 people a month have died shortly after being declared “fit to work” prompting campaigners to call for an overhaul of the government’s welfare system, reports the Guardian.Figures from...
- 24 Aug
Disability campaigners concerned over benefit shakeups
The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is set to announce new reforms to sickness benefits in the hope to get more people into work, reports the Guardian.It is expected the Mr Duncan Smith...
- 07 Aug
Single parents are being hit by benefit cuts
Government statistics detailing who has been affected by the policy have found that in May 2015 49% were single parents with children under the age of five, reports the Guardian.It is being said that...
- 30 Jul
Government to review helping benefit claimants back into work
Led by Professor Dame Carol Black, the inquiry will consider the case for linking people who are entitled to benefits with accepting appropriate treatment or support, reports 24dash.The review's...
- 23 Jul
Call for review of benefits delivery
The inquiry will look at the problems that could occur when benefits are underpaid or delayed, reports 24dash. The Committee invites written evidence on: Frank Field MP, chair of the committee,...
- 15 May
11,400 tenants could be affected by new benefits cut
Inside Housing have analysed data from the government's Stat-Xplore website and has found that 11,449 social housing tenants are set to be affected by the governments plans to remove housing benefit...
- 24 Mar
Deaths due to benefit sanctions should have independent investigations
A report into benefit sanctions by the Work and Pensions Committee has said that suicides linked to sanctions should be scrutinised in a similar manner to deaths in police custody, reports Inside...
- 11 Mar
Charity finds benefit sanctions regime to be flawed
A report conducted for Crisis by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University found that benefit claimants were subject to a ‘postcode lottery' on whether or...
- 30 Oct
Cuts to employment and support allowance benefits
With these cuts it could see new claimants being given just 50p more per week than people who are on job seekers allowance, reports the BBC. The Department for Work and Pensions have said the ESA...
- 10 Oct
Proposed benefit rule labelled ‘worse than poor law'
The Social Security Advisory Committee is currently cons ulting on the proposals which George Osborne first announced in June 2013, reports Inside Housing.The seven day wait would occur on top of the...
What are the Future Funding Arrangements for Supported and Sheltered Housing? "Another informative session provided by Support Solutions, excellent session" P.R. - Wrekin Housing Trust