Maidstone Greens have expressed real concern that Maidstone Borough Council are not doing everything in their power to protect people on council tax benefit against the Coalition's cuts to Council Tax Benefit. The Lib Dem / Conservative government are reducing their council tax benefit payment to local councils by 10% next year, a cut that will fall on the under 65s.
Maidstone Borough Council is consulting on whether to reduce benefits by between 13% and 24.5%, however Maidstone Greens have shown that by increasing council tax by 3.5%, rather than the 2.5% they are planning, the council can go further to help mitigate the effects of the cuts.
At Wednesday's Council meeting, the Greens questioned whether the council was really doing all it can to protect vulnerable people.
Stuart Jeffery, Maidstone Green Party: "It is clear that the council can go further that it is planning to. It is right for those who can afford to pay council tax to help those who can’t, which is why we are calling on the council to think again about it's proposals.
"While no-one wants to pay more tax, an extra 3p per day per household would provide £150k to help households in real need. People that can afford to pay their council tax are likely to be able to find 3p. We are calling on Maidstone Borough Council to raise council tax by 3.5% next year to help protect vulnerable people in the borough.
"With 13% of children in families claiming benefits and those benefits facing huge cuts, poverty is set to increase drastically. It is essential that the council does all it can to help."
- This question was put to the Council meeting of Maidstone Borough Council: "Noting the 10% reduction in central government grant for Council Tax Benefit, to what extent could the shortfall in funding be reduced if council tax was raised in 13/14"