Changes to council tax benefit approved

Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies
Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies

Councillors have approved new changes to council tax benefit following plans by the government to replace the national system from April.

Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, said: “As the government have reduced their funding of council tax Benefits in Doncaster by 10 per cent we have had to make difficult decisions which impact on thousands of people. Although we have been forced to make some cuts, I am pleased that we are able to continue protecting pensioners and support our most vulnerable residents and those most at risk of financial hardship. We have retained the current system of full support for those on the lowest incomes such as Income Support and a full disregard of war pensions will continue under our local scheme instead of following the government scheme of only disregarding £10.”

While those on the lowest incomes will be protected, those with higher incomes who still receive some council tax benefit will be affected. Anyone with a higher income who receives council tax benefit will have to pay more towards their council tax than they currently do. People who are not protected and receive child benefit for more than one child may have to contribute extra to their council tax if they have a higher income.

Second home owners also face changes with full council tax charges being implemented on furnished properties and charges of an additional 50 per cent premium on properties that have remained empty and unfurnished for more than two years.

Leader of the Labour group, Cllr Glyn Jones, said: “The Tory-led Government continues to attack the hard working families of Doncaster. These are difficult decisions which have been forced on the council by savage Government cuts. Labour has done all it can to protect the most vulnerable people in our community so they are the least affected by the changes.”