Labour ‘victory’ in West Somerset Council Tax benefit battle

Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Andy Lewis, Labour Candidate for Dunster "A small victory but important for hundreds of people in West Somerset"
Andy Lewis, Labour Candidate for Dunster “A small victory but important for hundreds of people in West Somerset”

Some of the poorest people in West Somerset have reason to be grateful tonight to the Labour councillors we worked so hard to get elected in 2011. After a sustained effort by Labour, the amount they will have to pay under a system which has been likened to the Poll Tax has been cut in half.

Council Tax Benefit is to be replaced from April by Council Tax Support. People on very low incomes who now receive Council Tax Benefit will face new bills. And of course, that includes some people on low wages as well as those on benefits.

Officers at West Somerset District Council had proposed that support should be capped at 70 per cent – so people would have to pay at least 30 per cent of their council tax bill. That proposal was backed by the Tory cabinet.

Three or four pounds a week better off

Andy Lewis, Labour candidate for Dunster in this years Somerset County Council elections, said “During a tortuous and difficult process, Labour members on the council argued that support should be 85 per cent – leaving people with just 15 per cent to pay. That proposal was agreed unanimously this evening. This means that the poorest individuals and families living among us will be three or four pounds a week better off than they would have been.”

“A small victory, you may think, but a victory nonetheless – and an important one for hundreds of people.”