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The head of Islington Council has weighed into the government’s planned changes to council tax benefit, branding them “the new poll tax”.

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Cllr Catherine West appeared before the Work and Pensions select committee last week to slam the plan, which could affect more than 20,000 people in the borough.

The government intends to slash local council funding from April by 10 per cent and ask the council to make up the difference by collecting more council tax.

The authority predicts residents receiving council tax benefit will be £192 a year worse off.

Cllr West likened the change to the poll tax because of “its reverse Robin Hood unfairness” and because it will very hard to collect. She told the hearing: “The government say they’re trying to bring out of taxation people who are on less than £10,000 a year but the council tax benefit decision is just reversing all that, because it makes people, for the first time ever, have to pay council tax.”

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