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Regard for Heroes.

Councils around the North East who totally disregard war pensions, while assessing housing and council tax benefit, include South Tyneside, Castle Morpeth, Alnwick, Blyth, Wansbeck and North Tyneside.

Hexham disregards pounds 25.19 from weekly war pensions and the figure will rise with inflation in August.

Council leader Coun John Herron said: "This has been carefully considered by the council and the slightly lower level of discount is not through lack of respect for war pensioners, rather due to the cost to local council tax payers. The cost of the local discount to Tynedale is currently over pounds 10,500 and the additional cost of disregarding the full pensions would be around an extra pounds 25,000."

Sunderland City Council currently disregards pounds 55 per week and this is set to rise to pounds 65 per week from April 1.

"Increasing the war pensioner disregard has been a priority of ours for a number of years," said council leader Coun Bob Symonds. "We've made steady progress and we are aiming to move towards a full disregard."

Newcastle City Council has set aside pounds 300,000 in its budget to ignore the pensions of hard-up veterans from April 1. Its benefits helpline is on (0191) 277 7899.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 19, 2005
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