Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Pickles brands Cornwall Tory policy 'obscene'

Eric Pickles, the Conservative Secretary of State for Local Government, has branded the Cornwall Tory policy on council tax benefit 'disgusting' and 'obscene' and he said that the councillors promoting it are 'unambitious'.

I don't always agree with Mr Pickles, but in this case he is right.

According to today's Western Morning News, Mr Pickles was asked about plans by some councils to end the granting of full council tax relief to some of the poorest families. He said:
"That struck me as being obscene,"

"I thought it was a singularly unambitious scheme, just taxing people who are in receipt of council tax benefit rather than helping them get into work, dealing with mistakes and fraud."

He added: "Their job is not to tax the poor. It's to help the poor. That's why I'm so angry with these plutocratic leaders who are not prepared to get alongside the poor. Who are happy for people to stay on benefit."
This isn't just a case of bashing Conservatives. Both South Hams and West Devon councils are Conservative controlled, but neither is planning on cutting the rate of council tax benefit next year.

Correction: The original version of this post referred to the council policy rather than the Conservative policy. Although agreed by the Tory-led cabinet, in this case the final decision rests with the full council.

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