“While we should
all take pride in the success of the campaign resulting in less than
double-figure rises for 2004, it is important to note that a 6 per cent
average increase is still more than three times the rate of inflation,” says
Terry English, Director of Welfare at The Royal British Legion.
“Our members are men and women who have served
their country and worked hard. They now say that they can’t afford
‘luxuries’ like meeting friends for lunch or even buying the daily paper.
For many, rises in council tax that aren’t matched by pensions increases
mean a life of deprivation and ‘cutting back’. This isn’t fair, so the
Legion will continue to support the aims of the Is it Fair campaign,” he
Mervyn Kohler, Head of Public Affairs for
Help the Aged says: “The current system of council tax penalises older
people living on a fixed income; it is structurally flawed and in urgent
need of reform. Around 17 per cent of pensioners
remain in persistent poverty, with single council tax payers over 75
spending 6 per cent of their income on the tax.
“It appears that the
£100 subsidy, nominally meant to help people over 70 with council tax bills
will take some time before it reaches the pockets of those that need it
most. For many older people, this means months of going without in order to
pay this year’s bill,” he says.
Christine Melsom, Head of Is it Fair says
that the system is fundamentally flawed and in need of replacement.
For further information:
The Royal British Legion is Britain’s
leading ex-Service organisation working for the welfare of Serving and
ex-Serving men and women and their dependants. It provides financial
assistance, residential and short welfare break homes, employment for the
disabled, small business advice and loans, resettlement training, free
pensions advice and much more, all financed from public donations. It has a
membership of 550,000 and answers some 300,000 calls for assistance from the
ex-Service community each year.
The vision of Help the Aged is of a
future where older people are highly valued, have lives that are richer and
voices that are heard. Through research, campaigning and fundraising they
develop solutions, drive activities and inspire others to do the same.
The Is It Fair campaign is nationwide,
non-party political and for everyone (not only pensioners) who wants the
existing system of Council Tax abolished. Its aim is to make people aware
of the need for action and to have the existing property-value-based council
tax replaced by a system that takes account of the ability to pay.