Whose council tax are you happy to pay?

Monopoly pieces Would you be willing to contribute to another person's council tax in the form of benefits if the household they lived in was of working age?

This is the question that has been posed in my local borough of Haringey in North London.

The council has changed the way it distributes council tax benefit means that every household of working age in Haringey will now have to pay something towards their bill. In a bid to cut council tax funds 'as fairly as possible' people who receive 100% council tax benefit will now have to pay 20% of their full council tax bill.

It probably hoped it would slip the change in quietly but councillors instead find themselves head-to-head with a local clergyman.

Haringey local Reverend Paul Nicolson is based in Tottenham and he just happens to be part of the campaign group Taxpayers Against Poverty (TAP). He is helping two residents who are threatening legal action on the grounds that the council did not undertake a proper consultation on the council tax benefit changes.

Nicolson isn't happy about the changes, which see the government cut support for means-tested council tax benefit from 1 April and give local councils control of benefits. A total of 36,000 households in the area will be affected.

He told the local paper: 'It would cost Haringey council taxpayers an average increase of £45 a year, or 86p a week, to keep the 100% benefit; an increase I am willing to pay.'

I'll be honest, this dilemma has divided my opinion. I'm all for paying the council tax 100% for those households where people cannot go out to work because, for example of disability. I am also for helping out families that receive a low income for the job that they do. If people are unable to work or trying to help themselves and their families as best they can then I will happily hand over £45.

But where my opinion changes is when you have a household where nobody is working. Times are tough for every one of us to some extent but we all work hard to pay our taxes and contribute to society for the benefit of all.

However, there are hard-working families in Haringey who are struggling to cope and don't receive benefits. Is it really fair that they should pay for the benefits of those that won't?

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