There are thousands of bureaucrats in this country whose jobs include dealing with Council Tax Benefit claims. There is a mountain of excessively complicated regulation covering how these claims are to be dealt with. Vast sums of money and considerable manpower resources are lavished each year on assessing people's claims.

The main task for the bureaucrats is to assess people's incomes to see how much "benefit" they are entitled to. (Council Tax Benefit is not really a benefit anyway – it is just a reduction in the amount of Council Tax you have to pay.)

They don't just make a calculation for each year – they make a calculation for every week! If you are self-employed, the council may even insist upon seeing every receipt for your business, down to the last stamp and the last paperclip! I'm not kidding – this actually happens!

A single claim can sometimes involve literally reams of paper and hundreds of man-hours from both the council and the claimant. And if there is any change in circumstances, the council may insist on repeating the entire process. In many cases, the cost of administering the claim greatly exceeds the amount being claimed.

And yet, nearly all of this bureaucracy is totally unnecessary. The vast majority of people claiming Council Tax Benefit will already have had their incomes assessed for the purpose of claiming tax credits. So why not just use the same figures to assess Council Tax Benefit?

Why is this idea important?

We can throw out reams of regulation, save many millions of pounds in wage-bills and office-costs for unnecessary bureaucrats and remove a major bureaucratic distraction for entrepreneurs who often have to survive on low incomes as their get their businesses off the ground.

This isn't a glamourous suggestion – but it is a simple way to save large sums of money and chuck out a whole bucketload of regulations.

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