Fears for hard-up residents amid plans to cut council tax benefit

News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston
News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston

Thousands of people in Boston could soon be struggling wth higher bills, after proposals were made to cut council tax benefit.

Residents currently receiving the benefit could face a 25 per cent drop in support following Government cuts which are set to leave Boston Borough Council with £746,000 less to provide for the less well off from April.

It means those who do not have to pay anything now could have to foot a quarter of their council tax bill – currently an average of £360 a year for a band D property.

At a Boston Borough Council’s scrutiny committee last Tuesday, finance portfolio holder Coun Raymond Singleton-McGuire said: “As an authority we are unable to finance this from our own resources. In short, we simply do not have the money.”

OAPs and war pensioners will be spared from the changes, but all people of working age – including the disabled – will have to find the extra money.

Councillors and community groups expressed fears that people will find it hard to cope with the extra financial demand at a time when they are already tightening their belts.

Coun Richard Leggott called for a new solution to plugging the looming funding gap, adding: “I feel what we have at the moment is not the answer because of what it does for the vulnerable and less able.”

The benefit changes will be discussed by the cabinet today (Wednesday).