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Letters to the Papers: The low-paid need protection from council tax

Published in the Islington Tribune, Jan 12 2024

For many years Islington Green Party have been campaigning to exempt Islington Council’s poorest residents from paying council tax.

It used to be the case that people on the lowest incomes were given a 100 per cent discount from council tax, but the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition handed over the discount scheme to local authorities without enough money to protect people on the lowest incomes.

Council budgets are strained, but chasing people for council tax they are too poor to pay simply pushes residents into growing arrears, desperation, and financial distress, which may lead them to need more council support.

The health and the finances of the borough are best served by discounting as many residents on low incomes as possible from paying council tax. Labour’s new council tax reduction scheme extends a total discount to more households than ever, but the Green Party would go further.

Our upcoming budget amendment will find the money to protect more residents in this cost of living crisis. That’s why we abstained on Labour’s proposals. They’re a welcome step forward but we need to go further.

Cllr Benali Hamdache
Leader of the Green Party Opposition Group