Thousands on benefits 'failing to pay council tax' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
Send photos, video and news by texting GUARDIAN SERIES to 80360 (cost 10p), or upload here
Over 3,500 council tax claimants in Waltham Forest and Redbridge have been summonsed to court since April 2013
Thousands of benefit claimants in Waltham Forest and Redbridge are failing to pay council tax following the implementation of the government’s welfare reforms, a new report has found.
Under the changes, council tax benefit, which covered the complete monthly bill, was scrapped and local authorities given the responsibility of devising their own support schemes.
In Waltham Forest, claimants must pay 15 per cent of the annual bill, while in Redbridge the level is five per cent.
The research found claimants in Waltham Forest were on average £150 a year worse off as a result, with 1,304 people on benefits taken to court for non-payment in the last financial year.
In Redbridge, people claiming benefits are on average paying £57 more a year, with 2,256 people prosecuted during the same period.
Legal costs totalling £284,256 in Redbridge and £57,888 in Waltham Forest were imposed on those taken to court.
Both authorities have a relief scheme to help those most in need.
The charities are calling on the department for work and pensions to scrap this policy and restore 100 per cent subsidy of council tax support schemes to alleviate hardship.