Aug 05 2015

Susan Says: “Labour-Run Harrow Under Fire in Council Tax Report”

susan_hall_2Harrow’s council tax benefit scheme, described as the “harshest in the country”, has come under increased pressure from another influential report produced by the Child Poverty Action Group and Zacchaeus 2000. Last year, a joint report from these organisations criticised Labour-run Harrow for making council tax benefit recipients pay a higher proportion of their bill than any other London borough – £300 more on average than elsewhere in the capital. Their new report, entitled ‘Too Poor to Pay’, singles out Harrow’s scheme for penalising recipients who work, and for failing to provide statistics on court summonses, costs and using bailiffs.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr. Susan Hall said: “A large number of Harrow residents in need receive council tax benefit; including people with disabilities or who are otherwise vulnerable, as well as the very low paid. Not only does Labour’s council tax benefit scheme mean many of these residents pay much more council tax than if they lived elsewhere in London, this latest report makes clear how Harrow’s scheme punishes them for trying to work. Their council tax bill is increased to such an extent when they take up (often low-paid) employment, that they are essentially taxed 97p for every £1 they earn. Labour’s scheme therefore provides no incentive to work whatsoever.”

Cllr. Hall concluded: “This latest report also makes it clear that the situation in Harrow could have been even worse for our residents. It credits the vital work done by the Council’s Scrutiny Review Panel – chaired superbly by my Deputy Cllr. Barry Macleod-Cullinane – in picking the scheme apart, coupled with Haringey Council’s very similar scheme falling foul of a Judicial Review, for forcing Labour to backtrack on making Harrow’s scheme even harsher. However, with Labour recently readopting their existing scheme for yet another year with no attempt to properly review how it hits some of our more vulnerable households, Harrow regrettably continues to set the standard for failing residents in need.”

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1 comment

  1. mike mcfadden

    What else could Harrow do? After inviting so many poor and destitute into the borough. Which has totally distorted the housing market. How much have Harrow failed to collect in council tax? If its like its sister council Lambeth it will be millions. No doubt these figures will not be available because it seems Harrow has gone into lock down mode. Caused by the shock of reality coming home to roost. !! Not long now!!!!

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