Monday, February 20, 2006

Tax and be Damned

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.


Overtaxed peasant said...

You failed to mention in the litany of woe what the Govt allowed the Water Companies to do over the next five years i.e. raise charges by upto 15% per annum on top of inflation.

As I pointed out in letters to OFWAT and my MP Roger Gale, if the total of household costs continue to rise at their present rates, all my pension provision will be needed to just run my house-hold in 9 years time.

The evil nature of stealth taxation is still not understood by many of my fellow countrymen and women. In Prince John's time you could at least identify the person responsible for kicking your door in to grab a groat or a pig. These days you are rendered equally impecunious but without anyone to throw dung at or to curse roundly in good anglo-saxon; its the faceless them again!

Putapon Council Tax Payer said...

The Labour Party supporters out there aren't going to like this because truth hurts.
I argued against the Poll Tax (a Tory nonsense) based on the principle that it was not related to ability to pay and was therefore an unjust tax. My wife was at home bringing my children up and I was required by law to pay her Poll tax. I went as far as an appearance before the magistrates before agreeing to pay her Poll tax.
The basic Tory position that everyone who uses local services should help pay for them is sound. I argued to no avail that a local income tax collected by the Treasury was a much fairer system.

However, the present Council tax system as manipulated by central government has now become an equally unfair tax as it is increasingly placing an unfair burden on those least able to pay it: pensioners.
Look at my Band C Rate Demand History from TDC each March:
1995: £541.61
1996: £565.12(up 4.3%)- Tory Govt
1997: £577.28(up 2.2%)- Tory Govt
1998: £634.59(up 9.9%)
1999: £686.54(up 8.2%)
2000: £743.74(up 8.3%)
2001: £789.76(up 6.2%)
2002: £871.78(up 10.4%)
2003: £980.32(up 12.5%)
2004: £1046.00(up 6.7%)
2005: £1087.52(up 4.0%)

Cynics might notice that the increases preceeding Elections are considerably reduced compared to the overall trend.
Overall increase in 10 year period from 1996 to 2005 is £522.40 or 92.2%. At this rate when I claim my old age pension my council Tax will be £2089.21.

Quite clearly unsustainable as a fair tax?

Anonymous said...

anon again!

Council Tax UP!
Gas Bill UP!
Electric Bill UP!
Water Bill UP!
Car Tax UP!
Fuel Price (diesel RIP OFF) UP!


It doesn't ADD UP! Messers Blair & Brown

Anonymous said...

What will we gain for our extra expenditure ? Where does all the money go ? When I see yet more traffic calming and unnecessary traffic lights and road alterations that makes me furious!
It's high time that the council started trying to deliver us a fair deal. Stealth taxation is definitely a strong theme under this labour government - it makes me sick to the teeth when you see them giving handouts to scroungers (unemployed mother of 13 for example on £28,000 per annum- see Why on earth do we put up with it ?