Thursday 15 January 2015

Guest Blog - Barnet Council votes to increase poverty for poorest in Borough by Zacchaeus 2000 Trust

On Tuesday 13th January Barnet’s Policy and Resources Committee voted to recommend more than doubling the authority’s council tax charge for low income families and individuals. 

If approved by the full council meeting on 20th January the decision will see the amount Barnet’s poorest residents pay increase from 8.5% to 20%.For a workless resident in a Band D property this will mean the amount they pay will increase from £109.09 per annum to £280.21. Such a charge would make up 7% of a Jobseekers Allowance Claimant’s annual income, equivalent to almost 4 weeks income.

Joanna Kennedy, Chief Executive of Z2K said:
“Barnet Council is proud of its low Council Tax rates and even cut its charges by 1% this year. Yet while the borough’s richest residents will be enjoying a freeze in their rates next year if this decision goes ahead, its poorest will be struggling to cope with a more than doubled bill.
Insufficient benefits levels mean that low income families and individuals in Barnet are already struggling with relatively modest level of the current charge.
The stories we have heard from residents about the extra stress and anxiety these bills are causing, to say nothing of the material hardships claimants are putting themselves through in order to pay them, are absolutely heart-rending.
If this increase goes ahead the end result will undoubtedly be mothers going hungry as they struggle to pay their bills”

 The Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (Z2K) is a London-wide anti-poverty charity that promotes the improvement of living conditions on the basis of economic and social justice through the provision of evidence-based policy alternatives to government, and by direct engagement with the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable.

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