A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Iain Dale's house ...

... must be massive if he is he is, as stated here, paying £2253.70 Council Tax.

I don't think we have many houses in Hackney valuable enough to be in a Council Tax band that high (I checked and actually there are about 1,000 homes in Hackney in this Band (G) and the one above it, out of 93,000 ). We froze our council tax this year unlike Iain's Tory council that hiked their's by 4%. Even in a Band G house like Iain's, CT in Hackney is nearly £200 lower in Labour Hackney than he pays in Tory Kent.

Move to Labour Hackney Iain, we've got smaller houses and we've frozen our element of the council tax three years in a row, so you'd save money both ways round. The local Tories could do with some new blood as well.

Iain blames it all on "ten years of Labour". Nothing to do with the people actually setting his council tax: Kent County Council, Tory in all except 4 years since 1973, or Tunbridge Wells District Council, Tory for all except 6 years since 1973?

Iain is also "struggling to think what I get for my Council Tax beyond a fortnightly rubbish collection and a Police Service". Plus he thinks he should pay less for the Fire Service if there are fewer fires ... ho hum.

I know this is a hard concept for a Tory to understand but the point about tax isn't just about what you get back, it's about helping to redistribute money from rich bloggers like him and (unfortunately not quite in the same league) me to people who need services but can't afford to buy them.

Even in Tory Kent local government provides:

- waste disposal as well as waste removal
- schools
- nurseries (including the one employing my mum)
- libraries (probably stocking some of Iain's books)
- social services to protect and care for vulnerable children, adults with disabilities and the elderly
- parks and leisure facilities
- roads (for Iain to drive his Audi down)
- steet lights
- planning and licensing services
- CCTV in case it gets lively in downtown Tunbridge Wells

Anyway Iain thanks for your contribution keeping my mum employed educating Kent's under-5s.

If you really want to get the Council Tax in Tunbridge Wells under control why not stand and become a councillor?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this the point you move completely into election mode?

As you know all too well, the government give Hackney far more cash in government grant than Kent or indeed the outer London boroughs.

The formula is archaic but does in some way take into account poverty and the cost of carrying out services. Ironically, as Hackney improves it will gradually receive less government grant to deliver the same services - or rather this is why you have been able to freeze your council tax element.

Kent is a very efficient council, so it would be interesting to compare the grant per head with Hackney.

8:01 am, March 11, 2008

Anonymous hughes views said...

As his regular readers will know, Iain has got "outbuildings" which he rents out and which were burgled by some villains recently. So he's not short of cash.

Unfortunately he's a fully paid up member of the "something for nothing" brigade having spent much of his young adult life when his hero M. Thatcher was PM.

She misappropriated North Sea Oil revenues to keep tax rates low rather than using them to repay national debt or to finance capital projects. Coupled with a similar trick with privatisation windfalls and a rundown of public services this has led to a generation who thing they can have their cakes but not pay for them.

It's not only people on long term benefits who have become part of the dependency culture!

8:17 am, March 11, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

Mind you, my 2-bed flat in South Bermondsey has, for reasons beyond my comprehension, been put in Band F. Needless to say I have complained.

The VOA have lost my complaint, so I've complained about them losing my complaint, and complained again about the banding. It's a joy.

Dunno how Southwark compares with Hackney on Council Tax levels, but since the VOA failed to band us for a year after the flats were built and occupied, we're currently playing catch-up, at £300 a month. Which is not pleasant.

9:52 am, March 11, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Certainly there are issues about distribution of cash to councils and there is some evidence that London gets disproportionately more than it should. But the losers are definitely not the county areas in the south-east, but the urban North, which still gets less than the indicators suggest.

I do think there should be a property-based tax, though, given the very high level of home ownership here.

10:00 am, March 11, 2008

Anonymous Albert Shanker said...

Iain Dale didn't know what his council does but wanted to be a Kent MP?

These Tories, eh?

1:18 pm, March 11, 2008

Anonymous Clapton Ali said...

Luke, you forgot to mention that - along with providing services - council tax also goes towards providing very generous allowances for councillors (whether they turn up for meetings or not - and whether they are efficient/effective or not).

And they say that in Kent, a pig would get voted in as councillor (if it wore a blue rosette). Likewise, in Hackney .... (though the fat pigs wear red/yellow rosettes here!).

1:32 pm, March 11, 2008

Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Yes Luke, Ian's one of those selfish greedy Anglo Bovins who only ask of public services "What is it that I, repeat I, get out of it?"

No decent though or consideration for others who are not well off... and anyway if we tried explaining some of the commonly shared 'public goods' he gets out of public services he waopuld go all glassy-eyed and not comprehend things like sharing and common interests.

And by the way, the opener poster on this thread? We mustn't take serious anyone called anonymous and who hides out in garden Kent :)

2:38 pm, March 11, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

If you want decent councillors then they need allowances. There may well be too many of them now, with the new cabinet system but I don't think one can do a cabinet members job properly unless its full time.

4:11 pm, March 11, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"CCTV in case it gets lively in downtown Tunbridge Wells"

Ye Gods zimmer frames & walking sticks being used as weapons. Cups of refined Tea hurtling through the air. - The mind bogles.


8:51 pm, March 11, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Why pay councilors anything at all. If you can't afford to be one then don't be a councilor at all.

The whole point of councilors is that we elect people that have some standing in the community. business people, headmasters, doctors, trade union leaders. It should be a mix of people that are funded from their own pockets or from donations and not from the tax payer. Why should we pay their expenses?

This country is in for a real shock in about 20 years. Our government is just too big and too much of our taxes are being wasted keeping the political system running. How on earth are we meant to be able to compete with the emerging economies when we have the burden of our government to support.

Soon you are going to have to make some tough choices. Either reduce government or lose our welfare state completely.

11:06 am, March 12, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

"business people, headmasters, doctors, trade union leaders."

I have met hundreds of councillors in my professional life. Probably over a thousand.

I can think of one who was a doctor, though I'm sure there are more. I can't think of any who were trade union leaders, unless a branch secretary counts.

I can't think of any serving headteachers, who I suspect would be disqualified in any case as the Council is their employer. Business owners I can think of lots, since they can decide their own hours to a greater extent than the rest of us.

But if you want people to give the minimum of 15 hours a week it takes to be an adequate Councillor, and more to be a good one, I don't think it's unreasonable to give them an allowance to do that.

2:10 pm, March 12, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Why do we need councilors at all? Another level of red tape to be honest. Schools, doctors, hospitals can manage their own money. Social services is nearly all privately run now so why don't we just let local authorities stick to planning etc.

12:42 am, March 13, 2008

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