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Localising Council Tax Benefit travels in opposite direction of major welfare reform, says JRF

Responding to the recent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report on Council Tax Benefit (CTB) reform, which was funded by the anti-poverty Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Programme Manager for Poverty Chris Goulden said:

The research done for JRF by the IFS published recently highlights the problems caused by the decision to localise Council Tax Benefit. It is a decision that travels in the opposite direction to the major welfare reform of Universal Credit, which is centralising benefits within a single wrapper under the charge of DWP.

While there are some sound reasons for localisation, given that it is a rebate of a local tax, it is likely to create headaches for claimants and for local administering agencies, as well as for DWP.

Not only is the 10% cut likely to affect people already in or close to poverty, the protection from this cut provided for pensioners means that working-age adults are hit that much harder; on average losing almost a fifth of their current support and, in some areas of the country, up to a third.

As IFS conclude, it would have been much better to have incorporated CTB into Universal Credit in order to stick to the principles of simplification and making work pay."



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