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Council blames government for tax benefit cut

Thursday, November 15, 2012
7.39 AM

Some people in Topsham who are currently exempt from paying council tax will probably have to pay a small monthly charge next year, according to Exeter City Council.

The council is blaming the change on the Government, which has decided to abolish the council tax benefit scheme that supports residents on a low income to pay their council tax bill.

Instead, the responsibility for providing that support will transfer to local councils beginning next April, and the cut in government funding means Exeter will need to save over £1million in the first year alone.

Everyone apart from pensioners, who are protected by law, will have to pay something towards their council tax bill, with few exceptions.

Under the council’s proposed local scheme, which will go before its Executive on Monday, the highest level of support will be 80 per cent.

Cllr Ian Martin said: “People need to be clear that these changes have been forced upon the council because of a large reduction in government grant. We always knew that we would have to make some difficult decisions about who gets financial support and how much they get and that is why we recently consulted the public on the impact of these changes.”