Local Government Finance – Council Tax Benefit

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Conference
2013 Local Government Service Group Conference
Date
19 February 2013
Decision
Carried

Conference notes that the decision to end the system of support for local Council Tax payers has:

1)Resulted in chaos, with different households in identical circumstances receiving different levels of support simply because of where they live

2)Resulted in inefficiency with increased costs of collection, higher bad debt provision and the prospect of more people being taken to court for money they do not have

3)Weakened the system of local government finance by increasing uncertainty and reducing buoyancy and sustainability

4)Added to deprivation and disadvantage as deprived areas have been driven to introduce the most limited levels of support

5)Seen low paid workers, including UNISON members working in local government, lose in additional Council Tax more than they have gained in changes to personal tax allowances and certainly from a 3-year pay freeze!!

6)Increased pressure and the danger of aggressive behaviour towards UNISON members working in Council Tax departments, facing redundancies and distressed and angry Council Tax payers

Conference therefore calls for the earliest possible return to a unified system of Council Tax support, administered locally, with equal entitlement, regardless of where people live.

Conference further believes that the abolition of Council Tax benefit and its replacement with local Council Tax support provides a further reason for the system of local government finance to be radically altered. Conference recognises that increasing the level of public expenditure on local services is essential to expanding employment , improving services and the pay, terms and conditions of the local government workforce.

Conference re-iterates the need for proposals on the future direction of local government finance that secure buoyancy, equalisation, local democratic accountability and determination, progressive distribution, minimisation of avoidance and maximisation of ease of collection.