A proposal to cut council tax support for people in North East Lincolnshire was voted down by councillors after being described as “callous”.
The Conservative opposition on North East Lincolnshire Council tabled a motion proposing a public consultation on reducing how much support is given to eligible taxpayers to 50%.
Currently, those on low income or benefits in the region on the council’s support scheme contribute 25% of their bill, with the authority footing the rest.
But opposition leader Councillor Philip Jackson claimed that the council is losing out on around £5 million a year on the current plan which could be spent on frontline services.
He proposed that a full council meeting in December could decide on the outcome of the consultation.
“We are not talking about implementing anything yet,” he said.
“We have made it clear that we wanted to consult with the people of the borough and we would have gone along with the majority view.
“We are saying that we need to rebalance the system.”
He added that a similar measure was put in place in neighbouring North Lincolnshire earlier this year.
Councillor Jackson said that those on low incomes but not eligible for support had to bare a “disproportionate council tax burden”.
Taxpayers in the region were faced with a council tax increase of 4.98% this year, which included the council’s maximum adult social care precept rise of 3%.
But, the proposal to reduce support was described as “insensitive” by cabinet member Councillor David Watson who said that people in area would not be able to manage the extra cost.
“People are struggling already,” he said.
“An extra financial burden will only make them suffer more.”
Meanwhile, council leader, Ray Oxby, said that the authority had some of the most deprived wards in the country and he could not support a “callous” motion.
“I cannot support it,” he said.
“I won’t be involved in any way in pushing vulnerable people over the edge.”
Liberal Democrat member, Councillor Stephen Beasant, said his residents would be hit the hardest by such a cut in support.
“It will have a huge and massive impact on my ward in the East Marsh,” he said.
“We have had it to the back of our teeth and it makes my blood run hot.”
Councillors voted down the motion by 22 votes to 15.
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