False Economy ran from 2010-2015. This site is no longer being updated, but the False Economy research team continue to report at Sentinel News.
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Our council tax benefit cut research and ILF videos in Guardian

Council tax benefit cut research

Today,  the Guardian is running a story about our latest research into the government's plans to cut council tax benefit support for people on low incomes. (The Guardian ran a story last year on our early research into the council tax benefit cut scandal, which showed that councils would cut council tax support by a fifth to people who could not afford it.

Our research reported today found that:

"Local authorities have conceded that up to 84% of people on low incomes will refuse to pay council tax after being caught in the net by benefit changes this April, and admit there is little they can do about it.

Ministers have cut the support for means-tested council tax benefit by £500m, and told local authorities to decide where the axe should fall. The result is that 326 town halls in England have put forward "local" council tax schemes – with residents in neighbouring regions facing wildly different penalties.

Nationally the council tax benefit cuts will mean the poor face an average bill of £247 a year from April, a charge from which they are currently exempt.

But because the sums average less than £5 a week, councils are warning that it would "in many cases be uneconomic to recover, with the costs of collection, including legal recovery costs, being higher than the bill".

The result is that councils are budgeting for large losses and potentially widespread non-payment. A series of freedom of information requests by False Economy, a campaigning group part-funded by trade unions, found more than 70 councils were resigned to seeing swaths of residents refusing to pay the tax."

Read the rest of the story here

Independent Lving Fund interview videos

Yesterday in the Guardian comment is free section, we had a story about the government's appalling decision to close the Independent Living Fund. The ILF was set up in 1988 as a stand-alone fund to which people with severe disabilities could apply for money for added carer hours. That extra money meant that people could afford to pay carers for the help that they needed – round-the-clock, in some cases – to live independent lives.

Read the story and see video interviews with ILF recipients here.


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