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Council Leader Defends Tax Decision

Wednesday January 15 2014

Steve Houghton Steve Houghton

BARNSLEY Council leader Sir Steve Houghton has defended the local authority's decision to phase out a council tax discount for pensioners.

The council has paid a discount averaging around £47 per household for the past three years to all pensioners not receiving benefits.

This was paid for by the council from its own funds - but it will now be phased out over the next five years.

Sir Steve says Barnsley can be proud of the fact that it's done more than any other local authority to try to help pensioners pay their council tax.

He says Barnsley is currently one of only three councils in the UK to finance such a discount.

He added the other two, a London borough and the Wirral, are ending their discount schemes this year which means only Barnsley will continue to offer some discount to pensioners for the next five years.

Cllr Houghton said: "It was always supposed to be a temporary measure to help older residents during a period of severe austerity.

"It's a testament to our commitment to help our older residents that we've kept the scheme and are now phasing it out over five years and not simply stopping it here and now."

The council currently spends around £500,000 on the discount - a figure set to increase annually as the population ages and more people qualify for the discount.

"We will have been offering a discount for eight years by the time it's totally phased out - I think that's something we can be proud of," he added.

"We have to slash millions from our budget and have taken the decision this cannot carry on indefinitely at an ever growing cost.

"Both the government and the opposition have made commitments to financially look after pensioners and the economy is recovering."

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Reply Posted by Sarah on Wednesday January 15 2014 at 15:41
I actually think this is 'fair enough'. If the pensioners are not receiving benefit and it was always implemented ad a temporary measure then of course there has to become a time when it has to be reviewed. It would have helped if Mr. Houghton had have stated where the money saved would be redirected to or indicated if it would be used to prevent redundancy in a particular field but I can't say that I would kick up a fuss with this.

Reply Posted by ward on Wednesday January 15 2014 at 15:47
What a surprise,us pensioners who worked hard,saved for a rainy day. We get nothing again. My advise to my younger self,is spend spend spend. . You,ll be better off.

Reply Posted by dd on Wednesday January 15 2014 at 15:51
sarah, hope you don't need help as a pensioner. pensioners should be left alone,after all they've paid more into the system than you. take away proposterous councillors wages and expenses. that would save millions.

Reply Posted by Sarah on Wednesday January 15 2014 at 16:11
Dd, so do I. I don't disagree that they shouldn't be left alone. But these are pensioners that are not on benefits... And it was a temporary measure. The money could be redeployed into provision of elderly care services to increase care packages or fund extra services for the elderly where they can still be supported in independent living. Just so you know we are singing off the same song sheet.

Reply Posted by STEVEO on Wednesday January 15 2014 at 17:14
Stevey Baby, look at the amount of pensioners that vote for your idiotic Labour party year after year after year, I think you may have pissed on your chips with those voters now you buffoon!

ipso Regulated