Disabled people in Havering who can’t work to pay council tax

Les Montague wth his daughters letter from the councl

Les Montague wth his daughters letter from the councl - Credit: Archant

Disabled people who are unable to work will now have to pay council tax under Havering’s new support scheme.

Letters have been sent to residents outlining controversial changes, which will require “every working age household to pay a minimum of 15 per cent of their bill”.

From April, all qualifying adults, except pensioners, will have their Council Tax Support (CTS) cut by 15pc and those on Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or income support will have to pay at least that sum.

Currently, disabled people who can’t work do not pay council tax and their Disability Living Allowance (DLA) sum, which is calculated as the minimum amount they need to live on, is based on that exemption.

The council said it is the “fairest” option, but Les Montague, of Squirrels Heath Lane, Gidea Park, says his daughter Tracy Phillips, who has severe learning disabilities, is one of many affected and worried by the change.

“It’s a disgraceful action,” said the 71-year-old. “They are willing to tax disabled people who can’t work – Tracy is panicking.”

Cllr Clarence Barrett, cabinet member for finance, said “difficult decisions” had to made.

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“We consider this to be the fairest option to all residents and claimants, including those with disabilities,” he explained.

“We recognise people with disabilities encounter barriers to employment so to address this, DLA and Attendance Allowance will not be counted as income, which can increase the amount of CTS they can claim.”

Other changes will see those with savings of more than £6,000 no longer receiving CTS, coming down from £16,000.

The Second Adult Rebate is also being scrapped.

Ukip leader Cllr Lawrence Webb said: “If the government did not have to give away £30bn in foreign aid we wouldn’t need drastic cuts.”

Labour leader Cllr Keith Darvill said he had spoken to residents it affects and the administration “ought to be more sympathetic”.