Thursday, December 5, 2019
Home Draconian Council Tax Rule Unlawful, Says Judge

Draconian Council Tax Rule Unlawful, Says Judge

A draconian rule which saw 3,600 Sandwell residents being forced to pay a higher rate in Council Tax has been ruled unlawful, Inside Housing has reported today.

Labour dominated Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, introduced a policy in April 2013 that prevented anyone who had not lived in the area for at least two years from claiming a reduction in Council Tax, regardless of whether they could afford to pay or not.

This resulted in a number of affected households falling into arrears or forced to move away from the area. Others were allegedly threatened with bailiffs.

The policy affected around 3,600 local residents and was challenged by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) on behalf of three claimants, two of which have been forced to leave the area due to inability to pay the higher charge.

One of the claimants is a victim of domestic abuse, while another has mental health issues. The third is said to be a widow.

Judge Hickinbottom said that the Council’s decision to strip local residents of their right to claim a reduction in Council Tax, and subsequent legal defense, was like trying to “make bricks without straw”.

He added that the Council had presented no viable defence or evidence and was acting unlawfully by failing to conduct a “race or gender impact of the residence requirement, at or before it adopted the scheme”.

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of CPAG, said:

“This ruling confirms what should have been obvious to the Council from the start: it cannot be sensible or right to charge people on low incomes a higher rate of council tax simply because they are new to the area.

“If Sandwell Council had given any thought to this policy, or held a consultation it might have realised this earlier. Instead thousands of people have been threatened with arrears and some people, even those who like these claimants were originally born and bred in Sandwell, have been forced to move away.”

 

Newsletter

Subscribe Now! Get weekly news updates delivered straight to your email inbox and never miss out on the issues that matter most to you (BETA). Or follow us on social media.

16,699FansLike
9,398FollowersFollow

Trending Now

A homeless person dies every 19 hours in austerity Britain

Services are failing to protect homelessness people, say campaigners.

Cancer patient forced to rely on food banks says DWP needs to ‘wake up’ to the ‘cruelty’ of Universal Credit

A cancer patient says she has been forced to rely on food banks after being refused Universal Credit.

DWP forced to admit more than 111,000 benefit deaths

Department has been forced to release updated Employment and Support Allowance mortality statistics.

Jo Swinson ‘sorry’ for backing Tory benefit cuts

Liberal Democrat leader grilled on her voting record while in coalition government with the Tories.

Benefit payment dates over Christmas and New Year 2019-20

You may receive benefit payments early over Christmas and New Year. Check here to see if this applies to you and your family.

More News

Jo Swinson ‘sorry’ for backing Tory benefit cuts

Liberal Democrat leader grilled on her voting record while in coalition government with the Tories.

Cancer patient forced to rely on food banks says DWP needs to ‘wake up’ to the ‘cruelty’ of Universal Credit

A cancer patient says she has been forced to rely on food banks after being refused Universal Credit.

A child becomes homeless in Britain every eight minutes, report reveals

Shelter calls on every political party to put housing at the top of its domestic agenda.

C4 Dispatches: 4 million children growing up hungry under Tories

SNP calls on the next UK government to reverse "brutal" austerity cuts and end the benefits freeze.

Jeremy Corbyn pledges to end the ‘shameful’ Tory treatment of disabled people

Jeremy Corbyn says the cruel treatment of disabled people "should be a source of shame" for the Tories.

Newsletter

Get weekly news updates delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe today!