Prior to the introduction of Universal Credit (UC), people on low incomes could get a 100% reduction in their Council Tax through Council Tax Benefit. Residents now have to apply for Council Tax Support via their local authority and each local authority can set a rate for the minimum amount of Council Tax people must pay. Torbay has set this rate at 30% and South Hams 15%. This means that even those on the lowest incomes have to pay these amounts. The Labour Party is calling on Torbay and South Hams Councils to introduce a 100% reduction for people living on low incomes from April 2022. This is likely to include people on the minimum wage, zero hours contracts and those who are vulnerable for a range of reasons including mental health.
Why is this important?
These charges are forcing people into debt and considerable hardship. It simply does not make sense to take legal action against people with Council Tax arrears, who cannot afford to pay, and then direct them to food banks to feed their children.