Benefit cuts will be ‘disastrous’

Sandy Smith and Coun Simon Greaves speak out regarding cuts to council tax benefits.
Sandy Smith and Coun Simon Greaves speak out regarding cuts to council tax benefits.
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AROUND 5,000 of Bassetlaw’s poorest families are set to lose vital cash support as up to £1m is slashed in Council Tax benefits funding next year.

Families on low incomes will be expected to pay up to £200 a year extra from April 2013 as part of the Government’s welfare shake up.

Pensioners, however, will be protected - although the cuts are expected to place great pressure on Bassetlaw Council.

The authority will launch a two-month consultation on 29th August on the plan to reduce tax benefit payments by up to 20 per cent for all working-age claimants.

Council leader Simon Greaves said the Government cuts were ‘abhorrent’ and would affect the poorest families in Bassetlaw.

“The cuts are really hitting home now - sadly this is the cold harsh reality of the Government’s agenda and there will be more to come,” he said.

“The idea of making the most vulnerable people in our society pay for their deficit is just wrong.”

He added: “Unfortunately we have no choice in putting these cuts into place but we will do our best to minimise the impact on Bassetlaw residents.”

“There are no magical solutions available and this is why it’s extremely input we get as much input from the public on this issue.”

Under the plans, a typical family of four earning £260 a week or less ad will be expected to pay up to up to £200 extra a year.

This will also affect couples earning £112 a week or less or single occupants earning £71 a week or less.

HOPE for Homeless mananger Sandy Smith said the cuts were the latest in a line of welfare reforms and would be ‘disastrous’ for those on low incomes.

“These has been on the cards for a while and it does not bode well. We know there is an increase in petty crime, people becoming homeless because of their financial situation at their previous home, and people losing hope,” she said

“The district council will have their work cut out for them to try to support the community during these massive changes.”

“Fortunately they have started to look at the impact of all these cuts and have developed an Anti-Poverty strategy. I wish them all the luck in the world.”

Bassetlaw Council’s consultation on the plans - due to come into force in April 2013 - will launch on 29th August and run until 28th October.

More information can be found at the council’s One Stop shops, at www.bassetlaw.gov.uk, or by calling the enquiry desk on 01909 533533.