Nearly one in four households are claiming Council Tax Reduction in the Folkestone & Hythe District, as of June 2020.
Council Tax Reduction provides help for people on low incomes with their Council Tax bill.
You can claim Council Tax Support regardless of whether you own your own home or rent, or whether you’re working or unemployed.
He says he wants to help, but the evidence suggests otherwise.
Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem), Cabinet Member for Revenues, Benefits, Anti-Fraud and Corruption at Folkestone & Hythe District Council, has over seen an increase in the use of bailiffs to collect non-payment of council tax. That’s Tim”s type of help kicking people when their down, so it appears.
In 2018/19 the Council used bailiffs to collect non-payment of council tax from 1,774 households, according to Stop The Knock.
In 2019/20, the year Cllr Prater became the responsible Cabinet Member for Council tax, the number of times bailiffs were instructed to collect non-payment of council tax was 1,990, an increase of 12.2% on the previous financial year.
That’s the type of help he gives households who are struggling to pay their council tax, he sends in the bailiffs more often. Does he care, does he FCUK.
Tim though is doing OK, claiming his £16,299 annual remuneration.
The number of pensioners claiming Council Tax Reduction (CTR) in 2018/19 was 2,793, according to Folkestone & Hythe District Council. In 2019/20 that number grew to 3,767; which indicates rising pensioner poverty in the district.
Council tax reduction can reduce the amount of your council tax bill if you and/or your partner (or another adult who lives with you) have a low income. You have to apply to Folkestone & Hythe District Council to claim it.
The number of working age households claiming CTR in 2018/19 was 3,191. By the end of the following financial year 2019/20 this number had climbed to 5,667.
The Council have supplied all this information while the accounts were open for inspection in both 2018/19 and 2019/20 and via report C/20/14.
Once again the data in 2019/20 doesn’t add up. Here’s why.
On the 24th June 2020, The Cabinet received report Report Number C/20/14 at page three of the document it states:
The Council received £1.133m for the Council Tax Hardship Fund, which supports those in receipt of Council Tax Reduction(CTR). The Council has seen a significant increase in CTR caseload with 828 new cases during April and May, taking total caseload to 9,973.
Doing the maths is easy. 9,973 (at the end of May) minus 828 (new CTR cases in April & May) = 9,145 (number of people claiming CTR at end of financial year 2019/20). Yet the council have released information from their accounts, that the number of people claiming CTR at the end of the financial year was 9,434 a discrepancy of 289 households. Now if one adds 828 to 9,434 one has 10,262 households claiming CTR, not the 9,973 the council claim.
In April & May 2020, 828 households made an application for CTR as report C/20/14 makes clear.
Cllr Tim Prater states in the video below that 2,266 households have made an application for CTR between end of March and the end of June. This means in June alone, 1,438 households made an application for CTR, according to figures released by the council and Cllr Prater.
As the numbers are wrong in Report C/20/14 and as the numbers are wrong with the temporary staff costs plus the numbers for contracts for dog kennelling, mobile phones and land lines are wrong, one has to take the Council’s figures; and those who present them, with a pinch of salt
Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem), the Cabinet Member responsible for Revenues, Benefits, Anti-Fraud and Corruption wants to help but his type of help is sending in the bailiffs more often.
It also means the total number of households claiming CTR is 11,700 in the district; which is equivalent to 23% of all households in our district claiming CTR.
His type of help is to turn a blind eye to the plausible suspicion of fraud and corruption inside the council.
And last, but not least, his type of help ends up costing the rate payer more.
So when Tim says he wants to help, be careful of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, who doesn’t give a FCUK.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful