Medway Labour and Co-operative Group have joined the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer in calling on the Government to halt their planned council tax hike and cuts to Universal Credit in order to protect family incomes in areas like Medway.

Under current proposals, households in Band D will face an average rise of £91 next year under plans. It means council tax will have risen by 33% under the Conservatives.

Alongside this stark increase, the Government currently plan to cut the £20 increase to the universal credit standard allowance, impacting some of the most vulnerable families in our community. Locally, the Medway Labour and Co-operative Group will be tabling a motion to the January Full Council meeting calling on the Government to make the £20 increase permeant.

This comes as the number of households claiming Universal Credit in Medway almost doubled from January to August last year, meaning over 20,000 households will be affected by the decision to scrap this increase.

Medway Labour and Co-operative Group Deputy Leader, Cllr Teresa Murray, the member who will be proposing the group’s motion said that, ‘The Government are simply not doing enough for working families in our community.

‘Increases in council tax places significant economic burden on families, despite the fact that councils have not yet seen the support from Government that was promised back in March.

‘This is completely confounded by the Government plans to halt the £20 increase to the standard allowance of Universal Credit, which is only set to increase pressure on families in Medway.

Medway Labour and Co-operative Group Leader Cllr Vince Maple added, ‘This Government is hitting workers in their pockets through hiking council tax, freezing pay for many key workers on the front line and slashing universal credit in the middle of a pandemic.

‘Despite spending hundreds of billions on its inadequate response to the pandemic, the Government are now placing the brunt of this financial burden on working people, and it’s simply not good enough.

‘On a local level, we will continue to work for local families including our motion to this month’s Full Council meeting, aiming to provide support for the 20,000 Medway families in receipt of Universal Credit.’

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party said that, ‘This is the Government that gave Dominic Cummings a £40,000 pay rise but won’t pay our carers a decent wage. This is the Government that wasted £22 billion of taxpayers’ money on a testing system that doesn’t work but now won’t find the money to support families.

‘Under my leadership, Labour will be the party of family. That means putting family first in everything we say and do. This will be the foundation of what I will do in government, so we can give families across Britain the security and opportunity they need to prosper.’

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