“Council tax has gone past the pain threshold and more rises will be unacceptable.” Tony Travers, London School of Economics
Council tax bills are to increase by more than twice the level of inflation this year, marking a doubling of the property tax in just ten years. Kent performs better than most but the national landscape leaves one wondering why we are putting up with this. The French and the Spanish would probably be setting up barricades in the streets if their governments tried to do the same there.
A Times newspaper reports that the average bill will rise by 4.3 per cent in April, equal to a £50 increase on a Band D property and let’s not forget, that very soon, so called “Council Tax Inspectors” may be demanding entry to your home to re-assess its value in order to be able to charge you even more tax. Where does it stop I wonder? In the future will such inspectors also have the power to value your furniture or even the contents of your wife’s jewelry box?
Since 1996-07, the year before this government came to power, the average council tax bill will have risen from £525 to £1,053.
With gas and electricity prices due to increase by up to 22 per cent this year, the average family will be paying more than £2,000 on domestic bills and pensioners will continue to suffer; the £200 rebate for council tax that Gordon Brown gave them last year as a pre-election sweetener being taken away in new energy and tax bills as swiftly as it was given.
Where will this stop I wonder and the answer, I fear, that it won’t, as Gordon Brown implied in an old-Labour style speech north of the border. The consequences of a personal debt mountain energy and tax rises are bound to push the UK towards the risk of a sudden recession and pictures of more protesting pensioners jailed because they won’t pay their community charge.
It’s ironic that a pensioner can be given 28 days in jail for failing to pay an extortionate hike in her council tax bill but commit mugging and aggravated assault on a retired person and it’s likely, as in a recent Thanet example, that you will receive a £250 fine and a suspended sentence.
Now we know how they must have felt in the days of Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. But there’s no good King Richard to return and rescue as from the growing burden of unlimited taxation. Only Prince John (Prescott) and the marauding Scottish robber barons from north of the border.