Make sure you have your say over benefits proposals

BOSTON Labour councillors were shocked to learn that two million low-paid workers will be penalised for grafting harder under government welfare reforms.

They will get to keep less of any extra earnings as more will be taken away in tax and benefit reductions. Nearly two-thirds of working people entitled to support will be hit when the new Universal Credit comes in next year.

It is a blow to the Prime Minister’s vow to ‘make work pay’ - especially for the poorest people. The impact of the switchover is revealed in a government paper which shows that 2.1 million people will take home less for any extra effort.

Boston Labour councillors said: “The Prime Minister promised to make work pay for everyone, but for millions his welfare changes are doing the exact opposite. This government’s flagship plans are set to leave more than two million with less reason to work harder than they have now. It’s time for ministers to fix this.”

The government currently gives Boston Borough Council £4.7 million per year to support local people through council tax benefits. In 2013/14 this funding will reduce by around 10 per cent.

Currently, around 6,400 people in the borough receive council tax benefits – 3,200 
are pensioners and will 
be protected.

The proposal for the scheme that the council is asking the public for views on is that the Council Tax Benefit Scheme currently helps people on a low income or income from Department for Work and Pensions benefits to pay their council tax. Under the proposed scheme, benefit entitlement for working age claimants would continue to be calculated based on similar means-tested rules to the current Council Tax Benefit Scheme and would be credited as a discount to the council tax account. However, the level of entitlement would be capped at 75 per cent.

The public in Boston will be consulted on the changes proposed by Boston Borough Council. The consultation was launched on Thursday, September 13. Please visit
portsurvey or visit your Boston Borough Council Revenues and Benefits Office. The consultation ends on November 8, 2012.

Boston Labour councillors urge people in Boston to get engaged in this consultation as there will be some serious effects to many low paid workers in Boston with a potential cut of 25 per cent to their current council tax benefits. Make sure the Conservative controlled council realise the depth of people’s feelings and change their proposals.