HEREFORDSHIRE’S coalition council must work harder for poorer people.

Amelia Washbourne’s letter Ignoring crisis (September 1) is, I believe, well-balanced in its attribution of responsibility for causing the cost of living crisis and Herefordshire Council’s responsibility for responding to the fall-out on a local basis.

I believe my having relocated to Herefordshire from London in 2017 as a poor person and raised a freedom of information request about council tax debt in Herefordshire a year later that the Hereford Times local democracy reporter picked up on gives me special insight.

The council’s 7,500 summonses for council tax debt (2017/18) could, in theory, be attributed to the Government’s cut in council tax relief support (CTRS) for claimants of working-age meanstested benefits.


That was a local angle to a national scandal that led to a Big Issue special investigation by barrister Alan Murdie describing “a chaotic and faceless system”.

Post-2010 Tory central government had left the responsibility for how to resolve the reduced CTRS pot on local authorities.

Yet Herefordshire Council’s council tax debt summonses never distinguished between claimants and non-claimants.


The Con-Dem coalition government in 2010 initiated a perfect storm of ideologically driven changes to our national democracy and socio-economic equality.

Now, Herefordshire Council’s 2019 coalition is built on a shared mandate that opposed the environmental practices of the previous administration, but must work harder to get poor people on its side. 






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