Taxpayers Against Poverty’ (TAP) has been campaigning against the government’s policies, in particular decision to transfer Housing Benefit responsibilities to local authorities and to allow them to limit the benefit to 80% of tenants’ rent. In addition to campaigning they have engaged a solicitor, Alex Rook, Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, who this afternoon issued a statement:

I can confirm that we have issued Judicial Review proceedings against Haringey’s proposals, and it has been listed for a ‘rolled up’ hearing (both permission to bring the proceedings and the actual hearing itself) on 5 February 2012.

– This claim relates to the decision of the London Borough of Haringey (‘Haringey) at an extraordinary full Council meeting on Thursday 17 January 2013 to adopt its ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme’ (CTRS).

– It is stated in Haringey’s report to Cabinet on 10 July 2012 that there are currently 36,000 Council Tax recipients within the borough (30% of whom are pensioners and therefore not affected by the new scheme), comprising of 35% of all households. 71% currently receive full Council Tax Benefit.

– There appears to be no dispute between the parties about the consequences of charging Council Tax to the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. A report to Cabinet dated 10 July 2012, authorised by Mr Stuart Young, Assistant Chief Executive at Haringey, states

‘”Needless to say it is my belief that this represents one of the most appalling policies of the government and it is not insignificant that the unemployed will now be facing the prospect of having to pay 20% local taxation levels, which they were last subjected to under the Poll Tax. This is likely to amount to an average additional burden of £5pw, which when put alongside cuts to Working Families Tax Credit, changes to Housing Benefits, and the introduction of Universal Credit is, in my view, likely to have a disastrous impact on the levels of child poverty.”

– Equally, Councillor Goldberg states in the report to Full Council on 17 January 2013

“It goes without saying that the actions of the Government with regards to the abolition of Council Tax Benefit are extremely misguided, both in practice and principle. It is important to note that this new tax on the lowest paid households will hit them on the same day as many will be impacted by the overall benefits cap and further cuts to tax credits and other benefits”

– In the light of Haringey’s decision to adopt the CTRS without any or any proper consideration of the legal flaws identified in our correspondence, we consider that our client has no alternative but to issue these proceedings. The grounds are that the decision to adopt their proposed new schemes was irrational, that the consultations they undertook were unlawful.

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