South Holland District Council have made a great show of the fact council tax bills for 2014/2015 only went up 0.2 per cent.
This is true for people in work. For those out-of-work, disabled or like me who have disabilities but who are of working age, our bills have gone UP by over 100 per cent.
For the record, I am 60 now and in receipt of ESA at the top rate, DLA at near the top rate, and two small pensions. I do not ask to be unwell, I just am unwell and there is no cure for either of my conditions.
On the February 13, many people like me were notified by the council that we are having our help with council tax limited to 75 per cent for working age people.
Looking at my bill for 2013/2014, I was paying £19 per month from my various incomes towards my council tax. The current bill for 2014/2015 means I will now be paying £35 per month instead, meaning a rise of £16. The total bill I paid for 2013/2014 was £130.56 and the bill I now pay in 2014/2015 will be £346 – a rise of £215.44.
I have recently been notified by the DWP that my ESA will be going up by £1-a-week and my DLA by 80p, giving me an increase in benefits of around £7.20/£8.00 a month which equates to me at a 1% rise.
With the new council tax rise differential of £16 per month, less the £8 per month rise in DWP benefits, it equates to a loss to me of £8, which is my rise in benefits, plus a further £8 I have to find.
When the increase in rent is added, the net loss is around £12-a-month – that’s assuming the council get their act together about council rent rises. One letter dated March 14 says I’ll be paying £39.45-a-month, and the next letter, dated March 17, says I’ll be paying £59.84 a month.
I’m sure another letter telling me to disregard the previous two is being typed up as I write.
My question to the council is this. Whilst it is right and proper in times of austerity to limit the council tax rises to people of working age and who are in work to 0.2 per cent, why is it then right and proper for that same council to discriminate against all people of working age on benefits by increasing the council tax by over 100 per cent.
We don’t ask to be ill, or out of work, nor want to claim benefits if we could work. You owe me, and everyone else on benefits, a far better reason for these huge increases you’ve imposed on us than you’ve currently given us.