Hackney Council’s plans to raise council tax for the borough’s poorest has been slammed as “regressive” by critics who call for extending a consultation on the hike.
The council is looking to save money by raising council tax for working age residents who qualify for its Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which currently helps 32,000 people.
The proposed changes would mean a five per cent hike on how much these residents pay, from 15 to 20 per cent of their full council tax.
A consultation on the plans, which runs until 30 November, asks: “To what extent do you agree or disagree with the Council’s preferred option of updating the current scheme and increasing the minimum contribution required from working age recipients from 15 per cent to 20 per cent?”
It goes on to ask for alternative ways to fund the scheme if the increase is shelved.
The move has prompted opposition from Hackney South Labour Party, who voted last night for a motion asking the council to scrap the change. Hackney Green Party is also against the increase.
Now, the local Liberal Democrats have called the move “regressive” and said the plans should be halted, offering other ways to pay for council tax relief.
Darren Martin, spokesperson for the Hackney Liberal Democrats, said: “The Town Hall’s plans to increase the minimum contribution which all working age CTRS claimants have to pay from 15 per cent to 20 per cent of their council tax liability, regardless of income and circumstance is regressive and will affect the poorest in Hackney.
“Their own local Labour Party are calling for this to be halted and it is clear that the plans need to be looked at again.”
He added: “We call on the Mayor to halt the plans and extend the consultation period to consider other more progressive options which we are putting forward today.”
The council has said the changes would still see council tax relief of 80 per cent for working age residents who qualify.