Haringey Council faces legal challenge over council tax

A High Court challenge has been made to a north London council's plans to make people on benefits contribute to their council tax bill.

From April, many Haringey residents who have paid nothing in the past will have to pay 20% of their council tax.

Lawyers for a resident said the council had acted unlawfully when consulting on the "council tax reduction" scheme.

But the authority said: "We considered various options for our scheme and consulted widely with residents."

'Vulnerable people'

Ministers are scrapping the council tax benefit system from April as part of welfare reform legislation.

Local authorities are being asked to introduce their own council tax support schemes but with a cut in funding from central government.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell said it plans to challenge decisions by a number of councils after being contacted by "vulnerable" people who thought changes proposed in their areas were unfair.

Haringey Council's consultation, involving claimants, residents and key stakeholders, ran from August to November, and included the council writing to the 36,000 households directly affected.

The council said it received more than 1,400 responses to the consultation.

A council spokesman said: "We took on board the views of residents, which is why those households that include claimants in receipt of certain benefits recognising significant disability have been shielded from the change."

Mr Justice Underhill reserved judgment and said he could deliver a ruling on Wednesday or Thursday.

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