Councillors have backtracked on a plan to increase the amount vulnerable citizens pay towards their council tax bill after a similar proposal was ruled unlawful elsewhere.

Concerned taxpayers and charities signed a petition calling on Harrow Council’s Labour group to reconsider its consultation to raise the contribution all council tax support recipients except pensioners would have to pay towards their bill.

Earlier this month similar proposals put forward by Haringey Council were ruled “unlawful” by the Supreme Court and campaigners said Harrow Council would have to heed the decision.

Sebastian Lettouche, a solicitor at Harrow Law Centre in Pinner Road, Harrow, said: “The Supreme Court’s decision carried important implications for Harrow Council as its recent consultation was virtually identical to Haringey’s, in that it suggested cuts to council tax support and no other option for reducing council spending was offered as an alternative.

Sebastian Lettouche, a solicitor at Harrow Law Centre, who campaigned against the plan
 

“We are pleased to hear that Harrow will no longer be going ahead with the proposed cuts.”

Next week the council’s scrutiny challenge panel will publish a report that brands Harrow’s existing council tax support scheme as the ‘harshest in the country’ even before the now-scrapped increase in contributions.

The council leader Councillor David Perry (Labour) said: “After consulting with residents we feel it is only right that we prioritise funding to protect those most in need in our borough from further Tory cuts.

“We have no plans to ask residents to contribute more as a part of this scheme.”

Deputy leader of the Conservative group, Councillor Barry Macleod-Cullinane, who chairs the scrutiny panel, said: “It is clear that this U-turn has nothing to do with Labour doing the right thing.”

Under the current scheme that is staying in place working age council tax benefit recipients must pay a minimum of 30 per cent of their council tax bill and disabled claimants must pay 14 per cent.