Outrage after Peterborough council tax benefit cut review thrown out

Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday

Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday

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‘Disgusting’ and ‘outrageous’ was the verdict after a review on cutting council tax benefits was thrown out inside a few minutes.

The words were shouted by furious Councillor Ed Murphy after seeing a call-in rejected without having the chance to speak at the Peterborough City Council meeting on Tuesday (2 December).

A council consultation on whether to extend a cut to the benefit has now resumed.

The call-in was made by Cllr Murphy and Cllr Richard Ferris who are unhappy with how the consultation is being carried out.

Council tax support was cut by 30 per cent in the council’s 2013/14 budget after a government reduction of £2.3 million. However, an extra £1 million shortfall is expected for the 2014/15 budget.

To find the money for this, the council is asking residents whether they would be willing to see the cut of 30 per cent extended to 35 or 40 per cent or to remain the same.

Cllrs Murphy and Ferris, though, feel the consultation should consider a range of options and believe it is hitting the most vulnerable in society.

Cllr Ferris said: “Local authorities have complete freedom to develop their own scheme.”

Cllr Murphy added: “The council lost £3 million from energy parks and are trying to get it back from the poorest people in Peterborough.”

The decision to reject the call-in was agreed by the Sustainable Growth and Environment Capital Scrutiny Committee. Cllr Nick Thulbourn voted against the decision.

Related: Council tax support could face 40 per cent reduction, 21 November

Peterborough City Council 2015/16 budget: Proposed savings, 14 November