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Council tax

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Wednesday 24 January 2007 10.28am
I'd have no problem with Council Tax being a liability of the owner rather than the occupant (indeed that might make it simpler and cheaper to collect), but it would just get passed on in rent, and make it harder to apply relevant discounts and benefits. I don't own a flat, so it's the same for me, like I said, it's roughly as though there were 10% VAT on rent.
Wednesday 24 January 2007 11.41am
suziq wrote:
What about those of us who aren't lucky enough to own our own flat/house? It's worth is meaningless to us as we have nothing to gain from any increase in value. Why should our council tax be based on the supposed 'wealth' of the occupant?

I imagine the logic is that if you can afford the rent (which is likely to be higher on more higher banded properties) then you can afford higher Council Tax. Whether you own the property or not is irrelevant to the Council - you still use the facilities they provide for which the Council tax is charged. I don't think it's particularly fair to base it on property value, but it's got to be based on something, and the Poll Tax was supposedly fair, but that was a disaster.
Wednesday 24 January 2007 11.49am
In my case, as with many other local residents, I rent from a housing association so the rent is much lower than open market rents which I certainly could never afford.
Wednesday 24 January 2007 1.05pm
suziq wrote:
In my case, as with many other local residents, I rent from a housing association so the rent is much lower than open market rents which I certainly could never afford.

Then your rent was effectively subsidised by the Council in the first place, especially if it's a housing association that has taken over former Council housing!

Obviously some people on low income can claim Council Tax Benefit, but in London it's possible to earn enough not to get any of that and still be relatively badly off.

Ignore me, I'm still in a mood at reading the woman on the BBC News comments saying she had enough expense with two kids and got nothing for her 700 a year council tax. I'd like to see her arrange private schools for them both for 30 a month each.

And I still want to know what increase Southwark are proposing! Is it a state secret?
Thursday 25 January 2007 3.46pm
I may be wrong on this so dont rely on it completely but I believe that Southwark Council will be proposing an increase of about 2.5% for their part of the Council Tax.
Thursday 25 January 2007 4.46pm
That sounds plausible. They froze it last year didn't they (election year, coincidentally). Increases nationally are quite low this year from what I've seen, I'd just like to know about mine! (when they accept that my new flat exists, that is, I'm going to owe months of back-tax...)
Thursday 25 January 2007 5.07pm
Southwark's part of the council tax bill was indeed frozen last year. Though they seem to have been a little optimistic about the amount they could actually collect in order to make their sums add up.

For another reason I did an analysis of average council tax increases in London in election years and non-election years. There was a very high correlation which probably wont shock anyone. Though Southwark was far from being the worst offender and 2.5% this year (if confirmed) would be significantly lower than retail price inflation.
Monday 19 February 2007 3.48pm
Neil wrote:
I may be wrong on this so dont rely on it completely but I believe that Southwark Council will be proposing an increase of about 2.5% for their part of the Council Tax.

I'm told they're now proposing 3.9%, which I suppose is not wildly out of line with prices in general. It still shows up the 0% as an election gimmick though - 1.9% two years in a row would make people's budgeting much simpler!
Monday 19 February 2007 4.10pm
According to this report on the Council's website you are correct:

http://www.southwark.gov.uk/Uploads/FILE_25495.pdf

Allowing for the Mayor's share the increase for a Band D property will be 4.25%.

I agree that freezing the tax in election year with a pretty hefty increase the following year is fairly petty electioneering but to be fair we can all see through that and Southwark are not the worst offenders. I wonder if they will try to describe the increase as below-inflation - you could just about make a case for that claim but it would be a stretch.
Monday 19 February 2007 4.17pm
I think it would be a stretch - it's certainly likely to be above what inflation will be in April when the rise takes effect.

I've been having a read of the report. Hard decisions - more money for stopping domestic violence, but less for children's mental health care, more for licensing, but less for street cleaning.

Cutting two jobs from the Debt Advice service seems especially silly in the present circumstances, and the proposal to stop monitoring air quality is unfortunate in the context of the green agenda.
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