Council tax arrears force thousands into court
- 16 Jan
People who formerly found themselves exempt from paying tax now face court due to benefit cuts.
Government cuts to means-tested council tax benefit have left many people facing liability orders for arrears. In April 2013 the government cut funding for council tax benefit by £500m and left local authorities to decide how the reduced benefit should be distributed. This means that have now found themselves having to pay council tax even though they previously found themselves exempt.
The morning of the autumn statement found Tottenham magistrates court full of Enfield residents struggling with the effects of the benefit changes since their introduction. Many are residents who have been summonsed due to their non-payment of council. Enfield has experienced a 62% increase in liability orders in the first six months 2013, reports the Guardian.
As well as arrears residents have to pay court and administrative costs which differ from borough to borough. Whilst many sums seem small on paper for the people they are affecting they're untenable due to them already being on benefits and facing rising living costs.
In early October 2013 Labour estimated that 450,000 vulnerable people had been summonsed as a result of withdrawal in council tax benefit.
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