Blackpool Council gets 10,000 calls over council tax

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More than 10,000 people have contacted Blackpool Council with concerns about rising council tax bills.

Working age residents will get 27% less support when current benefits are replaced with the council tax support scheme in April.

The government is reducing the amount it spends subsidising council tax.

Council leader Simon Blackburn said the authority had "no choice" but to pass on the cost to residents as the £2.2m subsidy could bankrupt the town.

Responsibility for administering the new scheme has been passed from central government to local authorities, each of which must decide whether to pass the funding reduction onto residents.

'Only fair way'

The government said it will give councils stronger incentives to cut fraud, promote local enterprise and get people back into work.

Anti-poverty think tank the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that 2.4 million low income families face an average rise in their council tax bills of £138 from 1 April.

The average increase for a low income family under the new scheme will be nearly £140 a year, the report found.

Some families will be forced to pay for the first time.

Mr Blackburn said passing on the cost to recipients was the only fair way to balance the books and prevent further budget cuts, as so many residents were in receipt of council tax benefits.

He said: "There's a calculation about how much of this government cut you are prepared to pass on to the general taxpayer and how much of it do we unfortunately have to pass on to the victims of this and that's people on benefits."

The council said the new level of support will be calculated in the same way as the current benefit, and then a further 27.11% reduction will be made.

The news comes a month after a 0.01% drop in council tax was announced.

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