Dec 20 2012 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
A CONSULTATION over an impending reduction in Council Tax benefits in West Lancs has revealed almost a quarter of those surveyed feel it would have a “significant effect on them or their families”.
A total of 4,850 working-age residents in the borough are set to be affected by the Government decision to cut the amount given to councils to spend on Council Tax benefit by 10% – a cut of £110,000 for West Lancs.
From April 2013, councils will take over responsibility for the benefits system.
West Lancs council conducted a public and stakeholder consultation in September and October of a random sample of 5,000 residents alongside all 4,850 working-age claimants.
The council was last night set to consider the report and decide on which of three options for implementing the cutbacks it should apply.
The recommendation on the back of the consultation in the report was to continue with the present scheme but apply a percentage reduction to the benefit.
When the issue was discussed at full council in July, Cllr Neil Furey warned the reduction would lead to queues from the council offices to the magistrates courts of people being prosecuted for non-payment.
He said: “What we have is a recipe for disaster, it will be completely unworkable.”
Recommendations in the report also include rejecting the Government’s offer of a transitional funding grant as complying with the grant requirements would result in a funding shortfall, a position supported by Lancashire County Council.