RESIDENTS on benefits in Bracknell Forest could soon have to pay council tax.

Those receiving out-of- work benefits will have to pay at least 8.5 per cent of their council tax rather than receiving a full discount if changes are given the go-ahead by councillors on Wednesday, January 23.

Among other changes, backdated benefits would only be awarded for a maximum of three months rather than six.

Cllr Alan Ward, finance chief of Tory-run Bracknell Forest Council, told the executive on Tuesday that the changes were necessary because of difficult economic conditions in the UK.

He said: "Living within your means is part of what we have to do now. Jobs need to pay better than not having a job. I don't subscribe to the view that everyone on benefits are scroungers, but no-one's going to be daft enough to go and work if they can earn more being at home."

After the meeting, Labour councillor Mary Temperton said she was worried that people who were receiving benefits because they were in low-paid jobs rather than out of work, could be hit by the proposals.

"Most are strivers, not 'scroungers'," she added.

Will you be affected if the benefit reforms get the go ahead? What do you think about having to pay part of your council tax? Will it take away vital money from other areas?