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UK’s poorest households could be hit with £600 council tax bills from April

31 January 2013

Millions of people could be facing a rise of almost £600 in their council tax bills following a decision from central government to cut funding.

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Across the UK, millions of people both in and out of work are currently in receipt of council tax benefit.

But this system will be binned in April and local authorities will be introducing their own council tax support scheme.

However, since the government has requested that the current pensioner level of support stays the same – and hit authorities with a 10% cut in funding – support could consequently be reduced elsewhere.

A study by independent research group the Resolution Foundation discovered that 76% of councils will respond by introducing less generous support systems.

Families who currently have their council tax reduced or fully covered will be forced to confront hefty council tax bills from as soon as April. 

A single parent working part-time on the National Minimum Wage and with children in childcare could witness a significant increase in their annual council tax bill, which could leap by anything up to £577.

Gavin Kelly, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation, said: “The new system will result in hard-pressed councils spending scarce resources chasing some of the poorest people in the country for non-payment.”

“Millions of England's poorest households - both in and out of work - are already very close to the edge given falling wages, tax credits and benefits.

“Very few of those currently exempt from paying the full rate of council tax are expecting a large new bill to drop onto their doormat this spring. When it does, they are going to find it hard to cope.”

Government cuts are set to continue, as the news broke last week that the UK economy shrivelled by 0.3% in the final quarter of 2012, fuelling fears that Britain could slide back into recession. 

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