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Benefits cuts could help fill £1m funding gap at Lincolnshire council

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 17, 2012

  • Stephen Phillips, Tory MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, defended his party's welfare reforms

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Out-of-work residents could be forced to use their benefits to pay council tax because of a £1.04 million funding gap.

The shortfall will hit North Kesteven District Council (NKDC), thanks to the Government's welfare reforms.

To bridge the gap, the authority has come up with a drastic proposal which would see those who claim full benefits paying 25 per cent of their council tax.

It would affect around 3,000 homes across the district with the average claimant being forced to fork out an extra £240 per year.

In a further shake-up, anyone claiming less than £4 per week or who has more than £8,000 in savings, may not receive any council tax benefits.

However, NKDC has said that disabled residents, carers, pensioners and those receiving war pensions will have their council tax benefits protected.

It is also proposed to increase council tax on empty properties to claw back some cash.

A final decision on the scheme is expected to be made in January and would come into effect in April.

Andrew Everard, NKDC's welfare reform project manager, explained that the council could not retain its current benefits system with the resources available.

He said: "We just can't fund what we've been funding in the past.

"The result is that for working-aged people, who claim help towards their council tax, it has been proposed that the maximum they will receive is 75 per cent.

"Pensioners are protected – and the district council has also taken the decision to extend this protection to carers, the disabled and war pensioners because we know this will hit them hard. If this is going to affect people in a bad way, it's important that they let us know."

As well as the out-of-work, lone parents, sick people and those on low incomes will be affected.

NKDC will be writing to all people affected by the changes, as well as landlords and housing providers.

Stephen Phillips, Tory MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, defended his party's welfare reforms and told the Echo he hoped everyone in his constituency would be involved in the district council's consultations.

He said: "There is no escaping the fact that the country has to live within its means.

"The Government's agenda of developing power to local people, which I fully support, means that we must all get involved in taking difficult decisions about how public funds are to be spent."

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  • Adrian1208  |  October 17 2012, 10:29PM

    by Pittacus I'm one of those people who you don't have a problem with, yes I do live on Benefits. I have been on Benefits for 5yrs now, but I have worked for 25yrs+ so it's time I had something out of what I've paid in. What you & others need to realize is that the minimum wage is not worth getting out of bed for, it's just not livable. Would you work for it, I very much doubt it??? If I could go back to my old job & live how I use to, I would go back tomorrow...

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  • Bicksy  |  October 17 2012, 8:25PM

    @insidestory - I used to stick veneer strips to the the side of wood-chip boards, hardly rocket science, but I'm far and a long way from that any more because I worked my way through the **** to deal with the situation, just like Pittacus refers to; I agree with him 100%. I don't want and medals but that's why I have no sympathy and that's why I say people need to get off their lazy able a**e and get on with it rather than expect to be gifted all the time; and for the record, I don't refer to those who I'm happy to support, I refer to the bone idle work-shy who think that society owes them and easy passage through life and plenty of handouts along the way.

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  • InsideStory  |  October 17 2012, 6:32PM

    Reducing someones benefits is not going to make any difference if there is no jobs ,Some on benefits are now made to work for nothing at the recycling center in Lincoln other than normal unemployment benefits and that to my way of thinking is slave labour .If they are made to work then they should be paid minimum wage levels just the same as any other person doing work. Try Putting your self in their shoes then i think you would soon change your attitude.

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  • Pittacus  |  October 17 2012, 4:56PM

    @Pete67 For the record, I have stated previously (below) I do not have an issue supporting people who are ill or disabled. The problem is that many able-bodied people on low wages get their benefits capped if their earnings exceed a certain threshold. There is therefore absolutely no incentive for them to generate additional income. Removing benefits would be hard in the short-term but it would certainly focus their minds upon self-sufficiency and eliminate the Catch22 situation they find themselves in.

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  • Pete67  |  October 17 2012, 3:22PM

    Pittacus - You say live withing their means, well most do. You say study hard, some tend to have learning difficulties. You say work longer, the people who I was on about were working full time (and have no chance of overtime or getting to a second job) , but with the price of everything these days it quite often isn't enough. I'd say you've been listening to too much Government hype. I Learned in the 1960s about Government hype, and wouldn't totally believe what ANY Government says. Also don't forget that there are many people working who are physically disabled (the Governments answer is close Remploy where many were able to work), and have problems doing normal hours or jobs let alone working longer or harder. Also qualifications and/or training don't necessarily get you the job you want or are capable of.

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  • Pittacus  |  October 17 2012, 2:58PM

    @Pete67 "What about people in low-paid jobs who are in receipt of benefits" I ask "why should people get any benefits when they are working? " If the money they earn is not sufficient to sustain their lifestyle then they have three choices: 1. Work longer hours to earn more money 2. Study hard to get the skills they need to get a better-paid job 3. Adjust their lifestyle to live within their means. Either way - don't expect me (and other tax-payers) to pick up the tab for their Sky TV and fags.

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  • Bicksy  |  October 17 2012, 1:58PM

    People need to stop feeling they should be gifted with well paid jobs all the time and get off their able a**e and find one that they're capable of doing.

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  • VictorToo  |  October 17 2012, 1:32PM

    Loan parents ?, Has some entrepeneur started a 'Rent a Parent' business, what's the going rate, minimum wage or £80 per hour like garages charge. Maybe we should start a loan homeless person business and get some of them off the streets.

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  • Pete67  |  October 17 2012, 1:26PM

    Bicksy and Pittacus what about the people who ARE in work, but are only capable of doing low paid jobs. These too will be in receipt of benefit. Are they supposed to quit the only job they have managed to get and go after one they have no chance of? The Government keeps telling us unemployment is going down, but forget to mention that most of the jobs that are easy to find are either on minimum wage or part time, and many not unemployed are on training. Add to this that the Government will soon be charging any who have more bedrooms than the need extra so that they move into mostly non existent properties or the streets. You never know one of these days you yourself could end up in the same boat - what would you do then. Of course there are some people milking the system (there always will be), but most are doing their best so why tar everyone with the same brush.

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  • Pittacus  |  October 17 2012, 9:16AM

    @Adrian1208 What Planet are you on. If you stretch your fingers a tiny little bit and click on jobs on thisislincolnshire, you will see that 152 have been advertised in Lincoln in the past 7 days. Or perhaps you would rather sit on the sofa awtching Jeremy Kyle whilst others work their butts off?

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