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South Tyneside Council prefers to tax widows, divorcees, and single people!

with 2 comments

Council amongst group who wish to see discount abolished.

Currently, if you are a single person living in a household you are entitled to a 25% reduction on your council tax bill, presumably because you make far fewer demands on your local council in areas such as waste collection, water and sewerage, education, library services, care services etc. A household with two adults or more, or with a number of wage earners will make greater demands on these services and can justifiably be charged the full rate.

Now some councils want this automatic discount to be abolished to help them increase their revenues from council tax, and amongst those deemed to favour ” widow’s tax” according to Eric Pickles, is South Tyneside.

“There is clearly a well-orchestrated campaign being run by the Labour Party to target the elderly, single mothers and the most vulnerable,” Mr Pickles said.

“They want to punish people who have worked hard all their lives and paid their taxes simply because they live on their own. There is a gross sense of injustice at raising taxes that could force people out of their homes. This is a widows tax and shows how out of touch Labour is.”

In it’s submission to the consultative government body South Tyneside Council said it would be

“easier to collect an increase in council tax as a result of a discount being withdrawn from someone who can afford it than someone on benefit who can’t”.

Not sure that I see the logic in that argument of course, there must be hundreds of widows, single pensioners, single young people, or single mothers in South Shields whose earning capabilities are far smaller than those of the larger family next door. I also personally know many South Shields folks single, or living with family, who cannot achieve the same aspirations of some on benefits despite going out to work and earning a living!

There are times when the thinking of South Tyneside Council is so far “out of the box” that it is imaginable that the box once belonged to a magician.

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Written by curly

January 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

2 Responses

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  1. The way I understand it is that local councils have now been given the authority by Central Government to decide who should receive the single occupancy discount. But ….and it’s a big but they are getting less money..ten percent I believe … do this. They are not allowed to target the elderly either – pensioners being exempted so I guess that leaves people living alone who have some form of income as the very poor are exempt already. Kind of narrows the field a bit.
    So to recap
    pensioners won’t be affected
    Families wont be affected
    Poor people won’t be affected
    The only people affected would appear to be people living alone who are already paying Council Tax
    It is not something the Council have decided to do it hs been imposed by the Government
    That is my understanding.


    February 1, 2012 at 9:47 am

  2. I am afraid the Secretary of State is playing semantics and politics in relation to this issue.

    The Council stated in our submission that it would not make sense to give councils limited flexibility around council tax benefit in order to push through the 10% Government cut in funding they are demanding without the ability to review all discounts and exemptions including single person discount. The case was to review such discounts not necessarily abolish them.

    This view was also expressed through the joint response made by ANEC which suggested the option of linking single person discount to income or council tax band. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance as an apolitical body also supported this stance.


    February 2, 2012 at 8:18 am

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