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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Tory Council Tax boomerang

Today's Sun ran an article about figures that the Tories have obtained through parliamentary questions to claim that council tax bills have "doubled under Labour".

The Sun’s list of councils with the biggest rises since 1997 is as follows:

1. City of London (Independent)
2. Tower Hamlets (Labour)
3. South Cambridgeshire (Conservative)
4. East Cambridgshire (Conservative)
5. Fenland (Conservative)
6. Westminster (Conservative)
7. Wandsworth (Conservative)
8. Brent (Lib Dem/Conservative)
9. Hackney (Labour)
10.Torridge (NOC – Conservative Leader, no Labour councillors)

Local councils are responsible for setting their level of council tax and only two of the top ten councils listed are Labour controlled, while seven are run by Tories.

Of the two Labour authorities; my own council Hackney is the first local authority in the country to freeze its share of the council tax for five years running and Labour only regained control of the council in 2001. Tower Hamlets council tax is the sixth lowest council tax in London despite the increases quoted. The Tories and their new friends at The Sun are playing games with statistics to make a self-defeating argument.

It’s a surprise that in choosing their weapon to aim at Labour, on this occasion the Tories have plumped for a boomerang.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It includes the new London mayoral precept, as introduced by Labour and increased sharply by Ken - although frozen since by Boris. In Wandsworth and Westminster this represents very nearly half the tax total for people in Band, hence the majority of the increase since 1999.

This is why London boroughs feature so prominently. Hackney doesn't because its pre-precept council tax was so large that it didn't make a very big percentage difference.

3:15 pm, November 17, 2009

Anonymous Christine Melsom, Isitfair said...

Please look at this link re doubling of the cost of council tax. I must point out that these are average http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/ctax/data/ctaxtimespd.xls

You must also remember that Government grant makes a big difference. If my County Council received the same grant as some of the London Boroughs, they would not have to set a precept.

Although the Government are keen to point out that they provide 75% funding of Local Government and the Council tax payer 25%, in many areas that figure can be reveresed.

3:47 pm, November 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely the crucial point is that this isn't measuring 'Council Tax rises' but the amount of money raised by Council Tax, thus if a Council significantly ups its collection rate (eg Hackney) or has a larger Council Tax base due to lots of new properties being built (eg Tower Hamlets) they will inevitably raise more money, but without the actual level of Council Tax increasing significantly.

3:55 pm, November 17, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

The problem with council tax is that that year on year it goes up but year on year services decline or cease to exist.

How councils and government manage to get away with this is beyond me. When you consider the extra revenue being made from council tax inflation, parking levies, road levies and fines and the steady growth of new properties.....local authorities should have bursting bank accounts. Yet year on year our services are being cut, our streets are falling apart and our parks neglected.

This country is in a dreadful mess and waste and the greed by just a few in our councils must be stopped. Time to start sacking those at the top.

5:58 pm, November 17, 2009

Anonymous Arnold said...

Agree with Rich here. Leaving aside the rights or wrongs of fortnightly bin collection for example, why hasn't that part of the council tax bill halved?

These people prey on the fact we have become apathetic as a nation and just accept the constant increases in tax.

Anyone remember the Poll Tax riots?

10:07 am, November 18, 2009

Blogger MrsM said...

Anonymous, you are wrong. It is Government grant that dictates council tax - together with the skewed banding system.
A pensioner is a pensioner wherever he/she may live; there are low paid across the country. Yet my two bedrooomed home falls into band E. If it were in another area of the country it might fall into as low as band B or even as high as band G. Where is the fairness in that? Regional banding may be the answer, but I believe there has to be a complete overhaul.

11:26 am, December 14, 2009

Blogger bathmate said...

As always an excellent posting.The
way you write is awesome.Thanks. Adding more information will be more useful.


6:46 pm, December 28, 2009


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