Updated: Wednesday, 13th November 2019 @ 5:02pm

'Another dog’s dinner’: Labour councillors slam Trafford's new Council Tax Support scheme

'Another dog’s dinner’: Labour councillors slam Trafford's new Council Tax Support scheme

By Charlie Bennett

A new Council Tax Support scheme was approved at Trafford Council’s meeting on Wednesday, but Labour councillors insisted that residents deserve better.  

The new scheme, which will restrict the size of a claimant’s disposable income, will replace the national Council Tax Benefit scheme.

Pensioners, parents of children under-five and those in receipt of the middle or higher rate of Disability Living Allowance will gain some protection from the changes.

Sean Anstee, Executive Councillor for Finance, said: "Around 73% will see no change at all over the course of a financial year.

“This is a substantial achievement that is right for both the council and more importantly our residents." 

All back-dated claims will be abolished and a discretionary fund will provide a claimant with short-term help in exceptional circumstances.

Labour councillor Andrew Western described it as ‘another dog’s dinner’.

“This move will create real hardship to residents,” he said.

“The best way to reduce benefits is to help people back into work.”

Members of the Trafford Labour Group cited Solihull Council in the West Midlands as an example of how a Conservative-controlled Metropolitan Borough dealt with the scheme.

In this case the council refused to develop a policy of localised Council Tax Support in the short-term, despite facing a £1.5million shortfall in government grants. 

Councillor Anstee observed that all Labour-run boroughs across Greater Manchester have implemented their own localised schemes, many councillors cried in unison, “While complaining!”

The council also introduced a number of changes to the Council Tax alongside the new local scheme, including a 50% premium for properties left empty for more than two years.

For more information about the new Council Tax Support scheme and other welfare reforms visit www.trafford.gov.uk/welfarereform 

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