LABOUR has blasted the Tory-led council for increasing the council tax burden on the poor from April 1.
Cheshire West and Chester Council has been forced to make changes because it is losing £2.6m government funding as council tax benefit is abolished.
Councils have been told to set up their own schemes to support poorer people with council tax – but will only receive 90% of previous funding.
To deal with the funding gap, the council considered an additional hike in council tax or cuts in services.
Instead members chose to make all working age council tax benefit claimants pay more – between £4 and £6 extra council tax per week for someone living in a band A property.
Labour group leader Justin Madders said: “The Tories on Cheshire West & Chester Council are set to demand increased payments from the borough's poorest working-age households who currently pay either no council tax or a reduced charge.”
He added: “It's unfair and attacks the most vulnerable in society.”
Cllr Madders said it was on top of the socalled bedroom which will result in hundreds of working-age residents in Cheshire West having their housing benefit reduced.
Deputy council leader Les Ford told the executive the latest move reflected the majority view of the 28,000 people in the borough who responded to a consultation.
He said: “It may well be that given a free choice we might have chosen some other way but the facts are as they are. One of the things it is intended to do is encourage people to get into work.”
Cllr Ford said there were protections, for example, those living on a war pension or who were severely disabled.