11:34AM, Wednesday 20 December 2017
Councillors voted to make changes to the borough’s council tax support (CTS) scheme, leading to claims that vulnerable people will be worse off.
Working age residents on low incomes currently have to pay a minimum charge of 10 per cent towards their council tax bill in the Royal Borough.
But during a meeting of full council on Tuesday, December 12, councillors decided to make changes to the way this financial support is calculated for each resident.
New claims for CTS will now only recognise the first two children within a family, meaning allowances will no longer be awarded for any children in excess of two.
An additional allowance for those responsible for children, known as ‘the family premium’, will also be scrapped.
Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton Wick), cabinet member for culture and communities, told the meeting at Windsor Guildhall: “The council has the power to give financial assistance to anyone who suffers hardship as a result of these changes.”
The council says it needs to make the changes so its CTS scheme is aligned with adjustments made to the government’s Housing Benefit regulations.
In November it held a consultation about the proposals but only received 64 responses.
Working age applicants in the Royal Borough will still be entitled to a maximum relief of 90 per cent of their council tax bill in 2018/19, whereas people applying to Slough Borough Council are only entitled to 80 per cent relief.
Council leader Simon Dudley told the meeting this showed his Conservative-dominated council were doing more than their Labour-led neighbouring councils to help vulnerable people.
“It’s the Conservatives who are trying to help people with the least to the greatest extent,” he said.
“It’s not the socialists, let’s be clear.”
Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) told the council leader the move was ‘punishing vulnerable people'.
Leader of the opposition, Cllr Lynne Jones (Independent, Old Windsor), said after the meeting that anyone who felt they would be worse off as a result of the changes should contact their ward councillor.
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