'Vulnerable' Liverpool homes in council tax benefit cut

Liverpool households where nobody works will need to find on average an extra £125 a year to pay council tax bills after benefit cuts, the council said.

The government is cutting its funding for council tax benefit by 10% from April 2013, resulting in a £6m shortfall in Liverpool.

Some 44,000 of the 76,000 city households that receive the benefit will suffer the cut.

Pensioners and working households with an income below £18,500 are protected.

Councillor Paul Brant, deputy leader of the Labour-led city council, said: "It's another example of the government targeting the most vulnerable sections of our communities.

"It's a real worry for the council because a lot of these households are going to struggle to make up the difference."

'Hard work pays'

He ruled out the possibility that the shortfall could be made up by taking funds from other council areas.

"We would end up having to cut something else to pay for it. It's not currently part of the budget process to cut something to make more funds available," he said.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: "The new system will be a fairer one, where hard working families and pensioners are not left to pick up a spiralling benefits bill and where hard work always pays.

"Councils will be much better placed to attract new business and industry, better placed to help their residents get off welfare and reap the benefits of work instead. They will directly benefit from improving the prosperity of the local area that will in turn drive down their benefit bill.

"Local authorities will have much greater freedom to administer rebates in a way that best meets local needs and best supports local people whilst safeguards will be put in place to protect the most vulnerable, including pensioners, from any reduction in the support that is on offer."

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