Local council tax proposal hits poorest

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On Monday, October 19, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Rother District Council (RDC) voted to change the Council Tax Reduction benefit. They voted to have a minimum payment of 20% of the Council Tax for all households from the 2016/17 Council Tax year. This will hit the poorest of the Council’s electorate.

The Council’s own figures suggest that this will affect 3,447 households across the district. Some of our poorest families will be put into debt and will face everything that accompanies this, including repossessions, homelessness, relationship breakdowns, poor health and increased suicide rates.

There is a proposal for a Hardship Fund, but there is no detail, so we do not know how families will benefit.

One of our RDC councillors for the town of Rye, Gennette Stevens, is on the Overview and Scrutiny committee and the other, Lord Ampthill, is a member of the RDC Cabinet which leads the council. The Conservative led RDC cabinet are meeting on Monday November 2 with the Council Tax proposal being put to Full Council on December 14.

This council has not increased the council tax since 2010/11. The government allowed for up to 1.99% increases each year, but RDC decided on no increase for five years. Now, as its finances are in a poor state, it has decided to hit the poorest, when it could have shared the pain around to all  – with the wealthiest in the largest houses taking the highest burden.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions. I will be protesting at the Full Council meeting on December 14 at 6:30 pm. Alternatively, you can contact your RDC councillors by email. Their email addresses are cllr.gennette.stevens@rother.gov.uk and cllr.lord.ampthill@rother.gov.uk

1 COMMENT

  1. I am not going into a political discussion but want to say that our Conservative local council obviously follows the policy line of Cameron’s Government, take the money to fund the debt from the people who struggle already. I am not advocating fleecing the rich or well to do but to think of a fairer way of distributing the punishing cuts.

    Unless I missed something, I believe this government cut the 50% tax to 45% for the wealthy to keep them happy. There has not been any talk of putting this back up to 50% for many who earn over £100.000 (some much more) and would not notice the extra 5% while the ‘hard working people ‘ (as Cameron loves to mention being a friend of) whose salary is minimal will notice the money taken from them very much.

    I understand that we need taxes to keep the local services running. However, lets be reasonable. Apparently RDC has not put up tax for 5 years when they were allowed to by 1.99% each year. If my math is right and they want to make up for this the increase should surely be around 10% increase rather than 20%.

    Amber Rudd , where is your input in this in terms of fighting for your consticuincy.

    Heidi Foster

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