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North Norfolk Lib Dems Demand scrapping of second home
discount to help protect council tax benefit recipients
Leading North Norfolk Liberal Democrats are calling on the District Council to scrap
the remaining discount on council tax for second home owners to help meet the shortfall in
funding for council tax benefit payments. Councillors Graham Jones and Virginia Gay
together with MP Norman Lamb want the council to take advantage of a new power to scrap
the discount which will come into effect next April. This power was negotiated by the
Liberal Democrats in Government.
Liberal Democrats want the Council to do all it can to protect council tax benefit
recipients and argue that this step must be part of the solution.
Council tax benefits hitherto have been totally reimbursed by central government and last
year amounted to £8,200,981; however from 2013 this reimbursement in Norfolk is likely to
be reduced by some 14.3%. Pensioners are protected. Liberal Democrats want to see action
taken to protect those of working age.
Lib Dem Cllr Graham Jones and Cllr Virginia Gay are members of a special working party
with responsibility for developing a strategy for managing this situation. They will ask
that the second home discount is scrapped and that the council agrees the principle that
vulnerable working age recipients of council tax benefit are protected as far as possible.
Cllr Graham Jones said
It must be possible for the Conservative led District Council to negotiate with the
Conservative Led County Council to resolve this issue.
Cllr Virginia Gay said
We think that people of working age will suffer if this measure goes ahead as it is.
The removal of the second homes discount would help enormously.
MP Norman Lamb said:
I have written to Eric Pickles about the situation in North Norfolk given the high
proportion of benefit recipients being pensioners. I have campaigned for years to scrap
the discount on council tax for second home owners. Now we have won that battle, the
council could use the extra funds raised to help protect those affected by the reduction
in Government funding for council tax benefit.