Eight Conservative-led town halls to campaign against council tax benefit cuts

  • @NigelpMorris

Eight Conservative-led town halls are to join forces to campaign against cuts to council tax benefit.

Ministers face fury over moves to trim spending on the benefit by £500m - and to tell councils to decide where the axe should fall.

Councils across North Yorkshire – including the constituency of the Foreign Secretary, William Hague – have met to discuss ways of thwarting the change, the Independent can disclose.

They are to write to local MPs to “highlight the unfairness of transferring responsibility… to local areas when each area has different demographics”.

Pensioners are protected from having their benefit reduced, so authorities could be forced to levy council tax for the first time on the unemployed and low-paid.

Manchester is consulting on plans to charge all working age people a minimum 15 per cent of their council tax burden, while in Barnet the charge could be 25 per cent.

Hilary Benn MP, the Shadow Communities Secretary, said: “To see tax cuts for millionaires and tax increases for those on low incomes planned to come in on the very same day next April tells us everything we need to know about whose side the coalition is on.”