One of the so called great claims made by socialists in the UK was that somehow or other they smashed the Thatcher Poll tax, though in the end it was a failure of nerve by cabinet ministers, not anything to do with rioting. Politicians tend to become very focussed on their political survival when an unpopular measure is introduced. Yet looking back now, I suspect that the poll tax would have worked out ok, after all what could be farer than everyone paying their way, a rich person after all does not noticeably produce more rubbish than a poor one and a poll tax coupled with say a land value tax would have been a pretty fair way to pay for local and national government. Oh I’m sure that there are a few out there who would scream that a Duke or millionaire should pay more towards society, though those are merely the politics of envy and part of the weird soak the rich mentality of some people in the UK, the same people who wonder why anyone who does get rich immediately moves out of the UK the minute governments try to get their hands on their cash.
So what we ended up was a council tax based on the value of a home, not the number of people using the resources of the home and as a sop to single people they got a 25% discount on the tax. But now with a squeeze on local government spending and rather than collect unpaid bills (£500 million in London alone) curb the wages of their chief executives, get rid of unnecessary services such as translation services, diversity co-ordinators and various other bits of useless flotsam taken up by councils who really ought to just concentrate on emptying the bins and filling in pot holes, Labour councils have decided it’s a good idea to go after single people.
WIDOWS and divorcees are being targeted for a huge rise in their council tax bills.
Labour-run councils want the eight million people living alone to pay the same rate as couples or households with several working adults.
Their plan to scrap the 25 per cent single person discount would push up bills by nearly £360 a year on the average Band D home. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles last night condemned the move.
He said the unfair “widows tax” would affect millions of pensioners living alone after the death of their spouse. Single parents would also be hit.
“There is clearly a well-orchestrated campaign being run by the Labour Party to target the elderly, single mothers and the most vulnerable,” Mr Pickles said.
“They want to punish people who have worked hard all their lives and paid their taxes simply because they live on their own. There is a gross sense of injustice at raising taxes that could force people out of their homes. This is a widows tax and shows how out of touch Labour is.”
The demand by Labour-run town halls to scrap the discount, which has been in place since council tax was introduced in 1993, emerged from a Government consultation on how to save 10 per cent of the cost of council tax benefit.
In scores of submissions from Labour councils, town hall chiefs argued that working single people or pensioners not on benefits could afford to pay the full council tax bill to cushion a £500million cutback on benefit claimants.
Oh I’m sure that there are a lot of fairly well off single people out the including widows and divorcée’s who could afford to pay the full whack, but why should a single person who is probably using council services far less than a family of four have to contribute exactly the same amount?
There has to be an easier way for everyone to contribute to the running of the local services they need and at the moment it’s plainly obvious that we’re paying out too much for services we don’t actually want or that few actually need. Local referenda on the accounts of local government might be a good idea, though no doubt a few might start complaining about the cost of such activities too. Though making local government a lot more accountable to the people who have to live with their occasional grandiose schemes seems to be a path we should be following up.
The question is though, we know that the system is a mess, we know it needs reform, we know that councils often spend rates on things that suit their political sensitivities, so how do we take control back off all this?