Green councillors have called upon Bristol City Council to explain the legal basis for its council tax consultation which plans to scrap the council tax reduction scheme for people on low incomes.
Bristol City Council have been asked to provide evidence for its decision to continue with a controversial consultation on cuts to council tax support.
Proposals have been made to cut the council tax reduction discount scheme aimed for people on low incomes in 2018/19.
Green councillors have opposed the consultation which could see low income households pay between 25 and 50 per cent of the total council bill.
The contribution to the council tax bill is expected to generate savings of up to £4.2 million.
— Bristol Green Party (@bristolgreen) 6 September 2017
Green councillors have questioned the legal basis of the tax suggesting that it might be unlawful.
The City Council’s legal officers approached Councillor Eleanor Combley, leader of the green councillors, with legal advice showing that the consultation has a legal basis.
Access to this legal advice however has been restricted with green councillors alleging that they have not been able to view the advice.
‘Hiding the legal justification’
Councillor Carla Denyer has criticised the council for the lack of transparency with regards to the consultation.
She drew parallel between the Bristol Council tax consultation and the Haringey consultation which was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court in 2o14. She said:
‘Holding a consultation that offers people no real choice, and then hiding the legal justification for said consultation from opposition councillors, hardly screams ‘open government’’.
— @acornbristol (@ACORN_Bristol) 4 October 2017
A petition, signed by over 3,500 people, has been launched to maintain the council tax reduction scheme.
Anti-poverty group Acorn have also joined the Greens in their opposition to the consultation which they argue unfairly impacts the least well off residents in the city.
Do you have views on the council tax consultation?