Yesterday we published a new report with Z2K, which shows the impact that abolishing council tax benefit has had on low income Londoners. Still too poor to pay: three years of localised council tax support in London reveals that localising council tax support has led to increasing numbers of households receiving court summonses, falling into council tax arrears and being referred to bailiffs.
Does local discretion on social security deliver ‘localism in action’ or a postcode lottery? That’s one of the questions being asked by the Commons Work and Pensions select committee in looking at the interaction between the national benefits system and locally-run schemes.
In the 1949 Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico, residents of the London borough set themselves up as a separate state with predictably comic results. When Pimlico’s governing committee lifts post-war rationing, shoppers flood to the new dominion only to find themselves trapped when its borders are later closed.
If I lost my job tomorrow, one of the things that I would expect would be that while I was not earning, I would not be paying tax. However, in 26 out of 33 London boroughs this is not the case: I would still need to pay council tax.