The York Council is set to reduce to 22.5% the proportion of a Council Tax bill that those who depend on benefits will have to pay. The change will be worth around £55 a year to the average claimant
This represents an improvement on the 30% that Labour extorted when they were in office.
But it does mean that out of the amounts received by claimants to cover food, heating and lighting, they will still have to find between £162 (band A) and £440 (Band G) a year in Council Tax payments.
More if the Council, in February, opts for a 3.9% increase in tax levels.
Contrary to some popular beliefs most benefits are far from generous.
Many disabled people struggle to manage on an income which was calculated to provide a basic standard of living but which did not – when conceived – envisage many claimants paying Council Tax (100% relief was allowed in many cases until the recent “reforms”)
Councillors pay set for 21% hike
Against all expectations, it appears that Councillors may vote on Thursday to accept the generous pay raise offered by an independent panel.
It has emerged that the Council’s Group Leaders – having opted to re-appoint the same panel that had recommended a generous hike when it met in 2012 – had written to them to indicate that they would endorse whatever recommendations emerged.
It was pretty much a nailed on certainty the that the panel would dust off its previously rejected recommendations and given them some new life.
Given that the Leaders effectively surrendered control of a £546,000 budget, it is surprising that they did not also specify an “affordability” ceiling for any increase.
It is also a shame that the panel did not invite some independent witnesses to help them with their deliberations.
Nor does it appear that the panel were fully appraised of the many outside bodies which Councillors serve on and which also pay responsibility allowances.
These include County bodies, various regional bodies and national organisations like the Local Government Association.
Some Councillors declare this income on their declarations of interest
In assessing the number of hours that each type of Councillor might work each week, it also seems that they were not advised that some Executive post holders also hold down full time jobs (a recent trend).
It reminds us of the story about a lawyer who died and went to heaven.
On entering the Pearly Gates, he was welcomed by St Peter.
St Peter sympathised with the lawyer who was looking miserable and said “well least you had a good innings”
The Lawyer responded “I don’t know about that. I was only 48 when I died”
Surely not” said St Peter.
“We added up all the timesheets that you had sent your clients and calculated that you were at least 108”
So “cheers” to those looking forward to a more comfortable Christmas!
Council Leader – Pay up £3955 pa
Deputy Leader – Up £2770
Labour Leader – Up £2674
Green Leader – Up £4574