WORKING families on council tax support face an average £170 bill increase after council bosses agreed cuts to save £536,000.
Rotherham Borough Council said it was protecting the most vulnerable by raising the taper rate, meaning those earning more lose out.
It will mean an average increase of £170 a year from April for those above the 30 per cent taper — rather than a much smaller rise for all.
Opposition leader Cllr Allen Cowles said: “Protecting people from taxation is a noble act.
“But I wonder if there is an unintended consequence of this, to discourage work and ambition.
“My concern is that these people carry on in the same way and pass their way of life to next generation. Put simply, it is bad for their welfare and bad for their health.
“Surely we should be doing everything we can to encourage a change in lifestyle and expectation through work and education and certainly not punish those who are doing their best.”
The Government asked local authorities to create their own council tax support schemes from 2013.
The taper is the rate at which support is reduced for a claimant whose income is above an applicable amount.
Cllr Cowles said: “The taper payment system for working people who are not wealthy but who are striving to survive and look after their families is a punishment for their effort by this council.
“This is in addition to the other increases in council tax, the yearly uplift, plus the adult social care precept, the parish precept and the police precept.
“And on top of this will be the green bin tax if they opt for it. It’s classic Labour, work hard they will tax you and spend it unwisely.”
Public consultation showed a preference for a smaller increase affecting a wider group of people but this was dismissed by the council.
Leader Cllr Chris Read said the change — confirmed at last week’s council meeting (24) — was introduced “with a heavy heart”.
It might not have been the most popular option but it was the right thing to do, he added.
Pensioners are protected by national rules and the cuts do not affect the single person’s discount.
Households with more than one non-dependent adult will be asked to contribute more.
Of the £536,000 cut, £450,000 will benefit RMBC, with the remainder delivering a saving for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and parish and town councils.
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