If councils do not fight– if the government gets its way –more cuts will follow
This year, some councils, like BROXTOWE, are trying to avoid cutting benefit entitlements, by increasing charges on various categories of empty properties.
Whilst no-one wants to see properties left uninhabited, there can be many reasons for empty properties – it is not just big private landlords sitting on their properties – it can be homes that are unfit for habitation; or properties that people cannot sell due to the economic crisis.
Limited funds – Under the Government’s proposals, any increased demand for CTB e.g. due to job losses or reduced income such as from short time working, has to come from the pot of money already allocated by the government. Greater need means less is available for each recipient and year on year, councils will be re-assessing their income and expected needs and looking how to make the savings.
If the Con-Dem proposals are not stopped, there will be further cuts in the money allocated by the government each year. Councils will find that if they do not fight for a properly funded scheme they cannot raise sufficient funds without making cuts in benefit entitlements.
Increasing charges is not an alternative to fighting – it reflects a lack of will of councils to fight for more funding and prepares the way for cuts. Where available, councils should use reserves to cover any shortfall and to buy time to build a real campaign for proper council funding.
Councils must fight now! We need to build a mass campaign to pressurise them to refuse to pass the cuts on either by increased charges and/or cuts in benefit entitlement.