Once again Kettering Borough Council have been proven to be by far the highest charging council in the country for their disabled and vulnerable residents.
Council Tax Support is the amount of help vulnerable residents (the disabled and those on benefits) get towards paying their Council Tax bills. Up until a few years a ago a government grant meant that councils could offer up to 100% discount, but now they are asked to decide for themselves how much they charge which has led to some big discrepancies up and down the country.
Of the 326 council in England 62 (19%) still charge absolutely nothing, while over 77% of all councils charge 20% or less.
There are only four councils in the entire country that charge more than 30% with only Medway in Kent and Northampton charging 35% while Kettering still remains massively out in front, charging a whopping 45%.
With neighbouring Corby charging only 8.5% this means someone entitled to the maximum benefit will pay something like £400 more in Kettering than the same person would in next door Corby.
Earlier this year Kettering Borough Council only stopped themselves increasing the amount the charge to 68% following a massive public back lash during their consultation on the proposal. Instead they agreed to keep the rate at 45% (already the highest in the country) with the Conservative Finance Portfolio holder saying “they would give other councils the chance to catch up”.
But that hasn’t happened; instead the rates from other councils have remained pretty much where they were last year with Kettering still 10% in front of the next highest charging council.
This is unfair and unjust! Why should some of the most disadvantaged people in our community still be penalised simply because they happen to live in the Borough of Kettering? Our MP has spoken in Parliament about Kettering being an average town while clearly for those at the bottom of the pile it is far from average!
Labour councillors' remain determined to argue for Kettering to be charging an amount more in keeping with the national average. There is no justification for Kettering to be singled out in this way and the administration keep repeating their boast about not raising council tax. However it's clear that for a chunk of people - those on benefits and the disabled - that this is simply not true. Not only that, but once again they are being asked to subsidise the council in a an unfair way. A way that no other council in the entire country thinks is fair.
Please click here to see a PDF listing the C0uncil Tax Support rates from all 326 councils - the data for the PDF came from this website: http://www.counciltaxsupport.org/schemes/.