Daily Archives: February 7, 2012

The issue of cuts to council tax benefit may sound esoteric; what’s one more cut in a world of public sector austerity?

Yet most cuts to benefits are relatively simple to administer: you still give people money, just less of it.

Council tax is rather different, as it involves taking money from people. Cutting council tax benefit means that you need to collect even more money from them.

There is already a high level of non-payment of this levy and some local authorities are worried that the problem will only get worse when the cut comes into force.

I explain the full situation in this article.

In a nutshell, the government is not only cutting the benefit by 10 per cent but also shifting responsibility to councils. But ministers have made it much harder for local authorities to carry out the cut as they have ordered them to exempt pensioners and “vulnerable groups”, thought to include the disabled and families with children.

That means that out of 5m people who receive the benefit, only an estimated 1.3m may have to take the impact of the cut – implying they could be hit with a reduction of almost a third.

That would mean an average of £330 per person, equivalent to the average household’s Read more

Two strands of thought are emerging about David Miliband, the Labour leader that never was, who launched his report into youth unemployment on Monday.

The first is that he is a cowardly figure, willing to make coded but bitter attacks in the New Statesman against his brother, but unwilling to follow it up with action. The second is that he is a great wasted talent, a serious policy thinker who should be brought back into the front line, one way or another. (I should say, of course, that these two things are not mutually exclusive.)

The first was savagely articulated by Matthew Norman in Friday’s Telegraph. Under the title “The sniping and self-pitying of a truly feeble man”, Norman wroteRead more