TOWN Hall boss Marie Rimmer has hit out at government plans to slash council tax benefits.
Coun Rimmer branded the proposals “morally outrageous” and would plunge many families below the bread line.
The borough stands to lose at least £1.6m in grant aid under new funding arrangements unveiling by the coalition.
Coun Rimmer added: “Relatively less prosperous areas such as St.Helens will stand to lose out financially under these changes, while more prosperous regions of the country will be largely protected.
“St Helens as a whole will lose at least £1.6 million in benefit. These losses will be felt exclusively amongst the very poorest members of our community.”
The proposed changes would, if implemented, results in drastic cuts to the amount of council tax assistances paid to struggling families.
Around 22,000 household rely on council tax benefits and the council estimates around half would be affected by the changes, which could come into force from 2013.
Under the proposals many residents will also become liable to pay council tax for the first time.
Coun Rimmer added: “The council will make every effort to ensure that vulnerable households are protected from these cuts, however it is inevitable that many less well off households will see their council tax costs increase as a result of this government’s proposal.
“These changes will affect those seeking work and those on low incomes and will be introduced alongside the government’s changes to Housing Benefit, which will see household rent increased significantly for many tenants.
“These measures will significantly increase the housing costs for low income families, and seem particularly cruel at a time when food and fuel costs are increasing by the month.”
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