CAB Report excellent on the miserable facts of local councils taxing benefits — room for impovement on helping vulnerable people.
- The DCLG "Guidance to local councils on good practice in the collection of Council Tax arrears" which emphasises the need for local authorities to look after "vulnerable people" seven times (google "vulnerable")
- The DCLG guidance refers to the MOJ "Taking control of goods - national standards" which suggests a procedure when bailffs meet "vulnerable situations" see paragraphs 70-77.
- The assurances given for the DWP in Parliament by Lord Freud (Minister for Welfare Reform) that decisions makers will consider all relevant matters "including information about a claimant's health condition and financial circumstances. Hansard 25 Jan 2012 : just above Column 1062
- It should make stronger comments on local authorities exacerbating the damage done to health by enforcing a tax against benefit incomes provided by central government, which,
Council tax is being imposed in the most deprived wards where low birth-weight linked to poor maternal nutrition. In the same wards expectation of life is up to 20 years shorter than in the most wealthy wards. These are national scandals that the advice sector should broadcast.
- before April 2013, were intended to enable the poorest citizens to pay the rent, buy food, cook it and keep warm, clothes transport and other necessities.
- but which since April 2013 have been reduced below the level needed to sustain a healthy life.
- The most disappointing part of the CAB report is its bland assumption that the intrinsic unfairness of enforcing a tax against shredded benefit incomes will continue and only needs to be "improved". It must be stopped.
Rev Paul Nicolson 9 July 2016.