Bid to reduce council tax levels for Kettering’s most vulnerable blocked

Council tax. Stock image.

Council tax. Stock image.

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A bid to reduce the minimum council tax payment for the needy in Kettering from 45 per cent to 25 per cent was blocked by councillors last night.

Councillors were voting on the long-running saga over Council Tax Support, for which Kettering Council currently charges the highest in the country.

Freezing the rate at 45 per cent was recommended by the executive committee last week, but Labour leader Cllr Mick Scrimshaw wanted to make the minumum payment lower.

But the bid was thrown out by Conservatives who voted to keep it as it was.

Cllr Scrimshaw said: “We are by far the highest charging council.

“There was no option (in the consultation) to bring it down in line with the national average.

“It’s clear that if there was then people would have voted for that.

“This affects many of our residents who through no fault of their own find themselves in difficult circumstances.”

Deputy leader Cllr Lloyd Bunday said the council couldn’t make “kneejerk decisions” and criticised Labour for bringing it up at the last minute - something the opposition party strongly denied.

Cllr Bunday said: “What frustrates me is that this is at the very end of a very long consultation process.

“I am sorry, but we cannot change budgets and we cannot change decisions on the hoof.

“There are financial implications this decision is going to have and this council must not make kneejerk decisions.”

Labour’s Clark Mitchell said they had brought it up “time and time and time again”, but MP Philip Hollobone said they were trying to hoodwink the public into thinking they could do a better job.

The Conservatives, bar Karl Sumpter, voted the 45 per cent freeze through - leading to cries of “shame on you” and “disgusting” from the gallery.