Tax benefits on the rise

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ELEVEN per cent of Wigan’s population are receiving council tax benefit and eight per cent housing benefit according to the latest figures.

Statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions showed that the amount of people entitled to council tax benefit rose from 32,910 in 2010, to 33,820 last year.

It also revealed a similar rise in the amount of people receiving housing benefit – up from 24,610 in 2010, to 25,220 last year.

Donna Hall, deputy chief executive, says: “We are in a very difficult economic period and it’s sad but inevitable that more people will need assistance. The council and its partners have worked hard to support residents, through initiatives such as the Skills Shops where free advice and careers information are available, and by working with local credit unions who can help with debt management and savings.

“The brand new Wigan Life Centre, with its one stop shop for information, is an ideal first port of call for advice. Major projects such as new shops and cinema in Leigh, employment land and building schemes are bringing employment and investment.”

The news comes in the week that the Government announced controversial plans to cap family benefits -including housing and council tax benefit - to £26,000-per-family from 2013.

Under the plans, the total amount of benefit that working-age people can receive will be capped so that households on benefits will not receive more than the average weekly wage earned by working households.