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Soapbox: Ill-thought out council tax plan
Last week’s soapbox carried an article from Green Party activist David Walker advocating what he described as a progressive council tax.
In short he said it would be fairer and stop the cuts to local services and we would all benefit.
At their conference this weekend delegates will be asked to approve the illconsidered plan.
This is more Green Party nonsense.
I’ve seen the background paper on which it is based and is nether fairer on council tax payers nor sadly will it stop the cuts.
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His party’s scheme plans to make all council tax payers pay more. In Brighton and Hove £30 million more.
He says his income related council tax will help 80% and hit 20% of top payers – redistribution.
The working document says those in bands D,E,F,G and H will face bills three times their current level.
For a Band D council tax payer the middle band of which there are 18,000 council tax payers could rise from about £1,600 to roughly £4,800 a year.
David Walker surely can’t imagine that residents living in Bands D, E, or F are “mansion tax” properties occupied by millionaires.
They are the homes of people who are part of the squeezed middle, most of whom are on modest salaries.
His Green Party plan would hurt a family living in a terraced home in say the Dip Hollingdean, or someone living in a Woodingdean or a Hangleton bungalow very hard indeed.
A working family say comprising a nurse and firefighter with a joint income of £65k could end up with a tax bill of nearly £5k a year a £3k plus tax hike.
Brighton and Hove doesn’t have a massive number of “mansion” owners. The top band H only has 143 properties in it, even Band G property owners number just 2,500.
The principle sounds fine but the practice would have a dramatic impact on household incomes and people’s ability to pay.
Worse than that I fear it would have a devastating impact on our local housing market.
The fundamental point is this.
The Green’s council tax plan for the city is borne out of their failure to halt the cuts and gain public support.
It is a desperate attempt to recover the political initiative lost since showing how poor, divided and incompetent they are running a major local authority.
Instead of dreaming up schemes that hit the already squeezed middle they should concentrate on making our city a better run place and stop wasting public money.
If they get the go ahead for this dotty tax plan they would have to put it to a referendum.
And you guessed it you would end up paying for the privilege – a handy £300,000. More wasted time, more wasted money.