Council tax benefit claimants in Birmingham will have the impact of one of central government’s welfare reforms softened after £2.1m extra funding was secured by the city council, following successful negotiations with the government.
This additional Council Tax Support funding means that 47,000 working-age claimants will now have to pay a maximum of just 8.5% of their Council Tax in 2013/14 – rather than 20%.
When setting this year’s budget, the council projected that £1.5 million of savings would need to be made elsewhere to ensure that the liability was just 8.5%.
However, following a decision to freeze Council Tax and further negotiations with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for extra funding, this is now feasible.
Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We have always wanted to protect the most vulnerable in our city, but the government’s localisation of Council Tax Support means we have less money and our finances cannot stretch to support people as we have in the past.
“It is pleasing that we have successfully argued our case for extra funding, but we have to be clear this is a one-off grant – only for one year – so we are going to face some very tough decisions again in the future.
“We will continue to argue Birmingham’s case in respect of the impacts of welfare reform, but we have to be realistic about likely future scenarios.”
Full details on the backdating of the enhanced support to 1 April 2013 will be made available in the near future.
Reproduced from Birmingham Newsroom