NEIL WELCOMES SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ACTION FOR MOST VULNERABLE
Alex Neil MSP has welcomed action from the Scottish Government to protect over half a million Scots from UK Government cuts to Council Tax benefit.
The UK Government will abolish the existing Council Tax benefit in April 2013 and cut the successor budget by 10%. At present 42,630 people in North Lanarkshire are in receipt of Council Tax benefit, the second highest figure in Scotland, and would have suffered from these cuts.
The Scottish Government and COSLA have now agreed to cover the £40 million cost of the cuts in 2013/14 with the Scottish Government paying £23 million and COSLA covering the remaining £17 million.
Mr Neil said:
“Over 42,000 people in North Lanarkshire on the lowest incomes currently receive council tax benefit, including the unemployed, pensioners, those who cannot walk because of disability and carers. This Scottish Government refused to stand idly by and allow them to be victims of UK cuts.
“This £40 million support will ensure council tax benefit, and those who rely on it, are protected from another hammer blow of UK Government cuts.
“This Scottish Government is looking after household budgets, with a council tax freeze, free prescriptions, concessionary travel and our abolition of road tolls and tuition fees.
“We have challenged the UK Government on their cuts to Scotland and their attack on the least well off. We will put in place measures that reflect the compassion and fairness of Scotland in line with our council tax freeze.”
558,000 people receive Council Tax Benefit (CTB) in Scotland, which is worth 387 million pounds to Scotland.
Eligibility is based on a number of factors, including income, savings, receipt of other benefits and financial status of partners. For more information see
Certain people are automatically considered for council tax benefit if they receive other benefits though a system of ‘passported benefits’, such as income support, Pension credits or Job Seeker’s Allowance.
CTB is administered by local authorities on behalf of the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) , who meet the costs of benefits and the administration of the system. Council Tax Benefit is paid to Local Authorities, not to individuals. Individuals in receipt of CTB receive a Council Tax bill net of the benefit paid by DWP. Councils handle applications, calculations and any initial appeals against awards and provide the public face of support to applicants.
The UK Government’s Welfare Reform Act will abolish CTB from April 2013 and the UK Government will then ‘localise’ support for Council Tax to individual Councils in England. Reduced funding - current CTB levels minus 10 per cent - will pass to the Scottish Government which will be responsible for assisting individuals to meet their Council Tax liabilities from April 2013.