Advice for Plymouth families facing benefits cuts
THOUSANDS of families set to pay up to £250 a year more in Council Tax are being urged to discuss the issue with experts from tomorrow.
Plymouth City Council has said about 16,000 households could see a reduction of up to £249 in their Council Tax Benefit next year as part of Government changes.
The authority is urging worried residents to attend a string of drop-in sessions starting tomorrow.
Plymouth City Council said that from next year households could lose out in a Government shake-up of Council Tax Benefit.
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It should mean that@ every resident pays something towards their tax, no matter what their circumstances.
All authorities have been told that from next April, the Government will no longer decide who is entitled to receive money to help them pay their Council Tax bills, or how much they can claim.
Councils themselves will have to introduce their own schemes.
But an authority spokesman added: “Everyone who is of working age and receives this support will be affected as the Government will also be cutting Plymouth’s pot of money by £2.6 million.
“This will see significant reductions in the money people can claim and it is likely everyone will need to pay something towards their Council Tax bill.”
The city council has drawn up its own proposals, but is inviting consultations.
Cllr Chris Penberthy, cabinet member for co-operatives and community development said: “These decisions imposed by the Government are going to affect a huge number of Plymouth people and cannot be ignored.
“These changes that are being forced upon us are literally going to be taking the money out of our pockets. It will directly hit the vulnerable communities in the city and with the large numbers it’s very likely it will affect someone we all know.
“These drop-in sessions are being held to help people plan ahead and to cope with the impact.”
The drop-in sessions are being held at Honicknowle Youth and Community Centre tomorrow from 9am to 11am; at Plymouth Life Centre from 1pm to 5pm on Thursday September 13 and at Plymouth Central Library from 10am to 2pm on Monday September 17.
The consultation on Plymouth’s proposed scheme is open until Monday 1 October. All residents in Plymouth, regardless of whether they receive Council Tax Benefit, can complete the consultation by going to www.plymouth.gov.uk/ctsupport.