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Borough's most disadvantaged face council tax hike

The borough’s most disadvantaged residents will be forced to pay more council tax if a new scheme is voted through by councillors next week.

The proposals are to change the council tax assistance discount for disadvantaged, vulnerable and disabled residents from a maximum 91.5 per cent to 80 per cent.

Questions have been raised over the public consultation that was held on the potential changes. Despite 97 of the 141 respondents opposing it, the proposals will still go before councillors at a Full Council meeting on Tuesday.

Critics have also questioned the usefulness of the consultation, which only received responses from 21 of the 2,621 people who receive council tax support in the borough.

Cllr Simon Bond (Lib Dem, Belmont) issued a written response expressing concerns with the proposed changes on behalf of the Windsor and Maidenhead Liberal Democrats.

Speaking to the Advertiser yesterday (Wednesday) he said: “It's not good news if you are struggling, as I am sure a lot of people and families receiving council tax relief are.

“I suppose a lot of people that are struggling might be doing two part-time jobs and raising a family, might not read the newspaper and probably didn’t know about the consultation.

“I would very much like to see an alternative but I don’t know what it is.

“It does feel wrong that we are asking people that have the least to pay such a big tax increase.”

The changes will affect different residents in various ways due to the way it will be means-tested, but in one hypothetical scenario made by the council, a White Waltham resident living in a Band H property on income support or jobseekers benefits would go from paying £206.96 to £487.01 per year.

If voted through, the council’s scheme would be brought in line with other Berkshire councils. Bracknell Forest Council and Slough Borough Council provide a discount of up to 80 per cent.

Cllr David Hilton (Con, Ascot and Sunninghill), lead member for finance, said: “I think it’s fair.

“You can’t be over-generous in every service because in the long run that doesn’t work.

“People that can afford to pay should pay, and this puts us back in the most favourable position that most councils are in.”

If voted through by councillors on Tuesday, the changes will come into effect on Wednesday, April 1.

The borough’s most disadvantaged residents will be forced to pay more council tax if a new scheme is voted through by councillors next week.

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  • Bingowings

    11:59, 27 February 2020

    Exactly what you would expect from the clown pensioner councillors. Paper pushing spastics, get to your care homes already.

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