Council promises to protect poorest from council tax rise

The Council has promised to protect Kingston’s most vulnerable residents from a rise in council tax.

Kingston Council has vowed to ensure that residents on low incomes do not suffer when the government abolishes Council Tax Benefit in April 2013. Councils across the country are considering charging low-income households increased rates of council tax from next year, but Kingston is preparing to pass a set of measures that will protect residents from the proposed increases.

Lead Member for Finance and Resources, Councillor Rolson Davies, said: “The Government’s plans could have had a severe impact on some of our most vulnerable residents. It is simply unacceptable that those people least able to pay should be hit with a £140 hike in their council tax to pay for the Government’s plans.”

He went on to say that it would be unfair to raise council tax for those on benefits by the 8.5 per cent that the government recommends whilst the increase for those not on benefits is limited to 2 per cent. If council tax for low-income households was increased by the suggested amount, most people living in a Band D property in Kingston would have to pay another £140. Currently, people living in Band D properties in Kingston pay £1,658.91 annually, not including any discounts or benefits.

The council has also promised to protect disabled people of working age from council tax increases. Councillor Davies said: “Our priority is to protect those who can least afford to pay. We will be deciding the level of council tax over the coming months and our aim is to restrict low income households generally to the same increase as everyone else.”

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