Council tax benefit cuts announced

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Thousands of Derbyshire residents will face higher council tax bills as local authorities across the county announce controversial cuts.

Government cut-backs have forced local authorities to adopt new system for calculating benefits but the move has sparked fears it will push struggling families in to hardship.

Working-age claimants who get full benefits will now have to pay some of their bill while those getting some benefits will also have to pay more of their bill.

This means that in the Derbyshire Dales, claimants living in band A properties will now be expected to pay around £87 per year.

Kris Ambler of Advice Derbyshire said: “We’ve seen an increase in the number of people seeking advice about these forthcoming changes, and our fear is that there hasn’t been enough time for people to adjust to what could be a significant reduction in their income.

“As a result we’re likely to see more people getting into financial difficulty, rent arrears and debt at a time when many people feel their finances have already been squeezed to breaking point.”

Derbyshire Dales District Council is also looking at reducing discounts on empty properties and second homes but an exact figure will be discussed at a later date.

Empty and unfurnished homes will have the 100 per cent discount on council tax removed after three month instead of six.