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Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Council Tax revolt

The debate on rebanding of properties for Council Tax in the National Assembly yesterday was another stage in a wider discussion on how we fund local government in the future. Welsh Liberal Democrats argued that this exercise was just tinkering with an inadequate tax, that it would just exacerbate inequities and that the real debate should be about replacing Council Tax altogether with a local income tax based on the ability to pay. This argument was rejected by Labour and the Tories who want to perpetuate the status quo it seems. However, there are real issues with regards to affordability as Council Tax levels look to rise substantially next year in Wales due to an inadequate local government settlement. The Western Mail reports this morning that taxpayers in Neath Port Talbot are threatening a revolt if their band D Council tax reaches £1000 a year, as it is threatening to do. I am sure that they will be joined by others. Pensioners are particularly badly hit by this policy. There needs to be real reform not tinkering and as soon as the Labour Government recognise that then the better.

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