A CONSULTATION by the borough council which saw letters sent to 4,900 relevant residents and a campaign via social media and online drew only 19 responses.
The exercise was to gauge people’s views on plans to streamline council tax support and to remove Family Premium for new claimants to bring the council in line with changes to housing benefit announced by the Government.
Speaking at Tuesday night’s meeting of the council’s executive committee, Councillor Juliet Brunner (Con, M’boro) leader of the Conservative group, asked officers: “Was there no way you could have put it into plain English for our residents?”
Jayne Pickering, executive director of finance and resources agreed the response was poor before adding: “We tried, we spoke to our communications team and I’m not sure it could have been made any clearer, unfortunately it was quite a technical area.”
Members heard the council’s hardship fund currently helps 350 people struggling with the changes with the capacity to help more.