Figures revealed by Folkestone & Hythe District Council Cabinet Member, Tim Prater, make it clear that 28% of chargeable households for Council tax are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (CTR) 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 £16,500 annual allowance for his heavy Cabinet responsibilities.
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 chargeable 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.
It would appear the numbers don’t reconcile and are possibly wrong in Report C/20/14. 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 as high as 11,500 in the district; which is a staggering figure. This is equivalent to 28% of all households in our district claiming CTR.
Let’s hope the Cabinet Member for the local economy, Cllr David Wimble (Ind), can change the fortunes of those unemployed, by helping to create long term, well paid, sustainable jobs. Don’t hold your breath.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful