'All to pay at least 30% council tax' call defeated
PLANS to force households in Cornwall to pay a minimum of 30 per cent council tax have been set back after councillors voted against the proposals.
Cornwall Council is reviewing its system after the Government shifted responsibility for council tax benefit onto local councils.
A number of households in Cornwall are entitled to 100 per cent council tax benefit, but officers at Cornwall Council said if that was to remain it would need to find an extra £4.4 million a year.
They recommended several changes, including setting a minimum charge of 30 per cent for all households, with no discounts for households higher than band D.
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However the council's corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee last week recommended the existing system remain, despite the warnings about financial implications.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Alex Folkes said: "If you have a large family and you live in a large house above a band D, that is your home and you are there because you need that size of home.
"Why should you be forced out of that house because you will have to pay more for your council tax?"
Mr Folkes also suggested changes being made to increase the council tax paid by second home owners and owners of empty homes could be used to offset the costs of council tax benefit.
And Councillor Anne Kerridge said: "This benefit is for people who have got no money and it makes no difference what you ask them for, they have still got no money?"
Councillor Fiona Ferguson, Cabinet member for corporate resources, said the minimum charge was required and urged councillors to approve the officers' recommendation.
She said: "I think we have to make it clear to people that we can't just continue the current scheme. We don't have the resources and we just can't."
The committee recommended that there should be no band D cap for council tax benefit and the existing scheme should continue.
A final decision will be made by the Cabinet next week.