Wednesday, 10 October 2018

My Response to Tower Hamlets Council Consultation on Council Tax Reduction Scheme (2018)

1. Limit the maximum non-dependant deduction applied in respect of any person who gets disability benefits i.e. Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independent Payments, Attendance Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance to £4.00 per week. (A non-dependant is an adult who lives in the household other than the Council Tax charge payer and his/her 

Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA) are for the following purpose: to help with extra cost of the disadvantage of having physical or mental health disability for people aged 16 to 64  and above. They are non-means tested benefits. These benefits enable recipients to manage their health conditions. If the council deducts from their disability benefit it would reduce their ability to live independently. Individuals who are affected by disability are already living in poverty. Please read this article: Half of people in poverty are disabled or live with a disabled person | Disability Rights UK

Half of people in poverty are disabled or live with a disabled person | ...

2. Adjust the assumed level of minimum income for self employed claimants to reflect their age.

The council's charges ought to reflect the financial reality of those who  are self-employed. Younger workers may not be as equipped as those individuals who are experienced in relation to being self-sufficient. Any forms of support to inform individuals who are self-employment is beneficial. This is particularly the case when younger  self-employed claimants are concerned.  If they are supported in a way for them to pay their taxes and manage their income and budget their finances, in the end, it would help the council in the long term because they would not get in to debt.

3. Enhanced support for self-employed claimants

Referring individuals to advice services is essential in order for claimants to negotiate on their behalf or manage their debts. At the same time, the council ought to withhold from taking recovery action until the matter has been resolved.   

4. Allow entitlement to be backdated for up to 52 weeks

Tower Hamlets' backdating policy would help a number of residents who are struggling financially. This policy would go beyond the current national legislation in relation housing benefit backdate.  Housing Benefit backdate is only for 1 month for example. Check here: 

5. Change the Child Allowances included in the local scheme to reflect those used in the assessment of Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit and Housing Benefit

Bengali families are larger in size compared to White families on average. Tory government's limit to 2 children would discriminate against these Bengali families. The local government should move away from working in line with universal credit. Instead the calculation ought have been done in relation to the legacy benefit system which helps family members much further than what this policy does.

6. Are there any other changes you think we should consider to our current scheme?

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