Households living under Tory-run councils pay more in Council Tax than those living under either Labour or Liberal Democrat majority controlled areas, the Labour Party has claimed.
According to a Labour analysis of the most recent available figures, Labour councils charge on average £334 per year less than Tory-run councils and £300 less than Liberal Democrat councils.
David Cameron recently argued that Tory councils were the best value for money for Council Tax payers. However, figures show that over a quarter (47 exactly) have ignored government requests to freeze Council Tax charges.
The Tory-led coalition government recently scrapped Council Tax Benefit for working age adults and left it to local authorities to design their own support schemes.
This means that councils can now demand that many low-income households, including individuals in receipt of benefit, contribute a specified amount or percentage toward their Council Tax bill.
Struggling households living in Tory-run areas could find themselves having to contribute more (in monetary terms) to their Council Tax than those living under either Labour or Liberal Democrat majority controlled councils, according to Labours analysis.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), the most deprived areas in the country were more likely to bring in compulsory payments than more affluent areas.
However, Tory-run authorities were more likely than either Labour or Liberal Democrat controlled councils to ask low-income families to contribute toward their Council Tax.
Only around 20% of councils have managed to maintain the same level of support as they did prior to Council Tax Benefit cuts.
Low-income working households have been hit particularly hard. Entitlement to Council Tax support for working adults has dropped by around £2.5 million, or an average of £160 for each household with at least one working adult in the last financial year (2013/14).
Hilary Benn MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:
“David Cameron once claimed that Tory councils offered best value-for-money but this official data shows that this isn’t the case.
“Families with a Labour-run council have lower Council Tax bills than those living under Tory or Lib Dem control.
“At a time when so many households are facing a cost of living crisis under this Tory-led Government, Labour in local government is doing its best to help local residents by keeping Council Tax bills down.
“The truth is that while David Cameron cut the top rate of tax for people earning over £150,000, hardworking families are on average £1,600 worse off under him. This Tory-led Government stands up for the wrong people every time.”
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