Consultation over Kettering’s Council Tax Support options comes under fire

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A consultation to decide future levels of Council Tax Support in Kettering has been branded ‘disgusting’.

Kettering’s most vulnerable currently have to pay 45 per cent of their council tax bill – the highest rate of any council in the country.

A consultation on rates in future years has two options, to freeze for one year and to freeze for two years.

But those who responded have criticised the lack of options, with many calling for a reduction.

One consultee said: “Your poorly constructed “survey” is akin to being offered the option of being punched or kicked.

“I find it outrageous that the council is seeking to maintain and possibly increase the highest, and most unfair, support system in the country.”

Another said: “I am sure that the council members are aware that the most vulnerable in our locality are expected to pay the highest amount of council tax among all UK boroughs and it seems unbelievable that the level of support is so much lower than neighbouring boroughs.

“As residents, we are aware that finances are tight, however, to punish the most vulnerable in our society seems a very unfair way to address this.”

Another said: “It is absolutely disgusting that you have the highest rate in the country and are one of the worst councils for it.

“You clearly have no idea what it is like to struggle and have to find this high amount.

“You have never been in the position of having to choose between bread or milk because you can’t buy both having just paid the council tax I have thanks to you people, more than once.”

Kettering Mind ran their own consultation, which included an ‘Option 3’ - to reduce it from 45 per cent to be in line with neighbouring boroughs.

Every person who responded voted for Option 3.

From the official Kettering Council consultation, 90 per cent of people voted to freeze the rate for two years.

This is the recommendation that councillors are set to approve when the executive committee meets on Wednesday (December 6).

From April 2013, local authorities across England were given the power to devise their own systems of Council Tax Support (CTS) for working-age adults.

It replaced the national system of the Council Tax Benefit (CTB) which ensured the poorest households did not have to pay council tax.

Kettering’s charging policy remains 10 per cent higher than any other local authority, with Medway and Northampton charging the second highest rate at 35 per cent.

In the north of the county Corby Council charges 8.5 per cent, while East Northants Council and Wellingborough Council charge 20 per cent.

Sixty-two councils charge nothing.