Council tax payers taken for granted

July 2009.  If you are a council tax payer, have you noticed lately how often it is stated in the media that the 'council tax payer will pay' or 'council tax will be increased' when either council's have lost our money or someone just thinks it's a 'good idea'?  There's no consideration for the council tax payer; just a blind assertions that 'they will pay'.
Who are these people that make these assertions?  Do they not realise or understand that council tax payers have limited resourses, and many are already struggling, even before the recession started?
Here are some examples that have been reported lately.

Icelandic Banks

The issue here is that some councils may not get back all of their investments in the Icelandic Banks.  The assertion by so called 'experts' is that council tax payers will have to pay for any losses.  Why should this be so when some of the money that is potentially at risk is not even council tax payments?  Click on the following link to read more.
Icelandic Banks

Council 'gambling' could cost every family £2,000

Local authorities are facing a £50bn shortfall in their pension pots after investing taxpayers' money in shares and hedge funds, including Bernard Madoff's failed scheme.   One of PwC's partners, Peter Tomkins said 'If the markets haven't recovered we are going to see large increases in council tax in a year or two's time to meet the shortfalls that have happened, and that's unfair.' PwC also said that councils would need to at least double the £5bn a year they pump into the LGPS to keep it going if the markets did not recover.  This would be equivalent to about £200 a year on council tax bills.  Click on the following links to read more.
Council 'gambling' could cost every family £2,000
Black hole in workers' pensions

Council tax may go up to pay for water change

The proposal here is the possibility of transferring highway drainage costs from utility companies to local authorities.  Backers of a change in the system to pay for rain run-off from roads owned by local authorities argue it is 'fairer' than slapping the cost on water customers.  In theory, as the tax burden increases with the switch in charges there would be a corresponding fall in water bills, although this is not explicitly stated in the review team's interim report.
Isitfair has serious doubts about the cost change being neutral to the council tax payer.  For example, if people are exempt from council tax or receive a discount do they get same treatment for their water bills?  Will the local authorities administration costs be the same as the water companies?  Do we really trust the water companies to pass on in full all cost savings?  Click on the following links to read more.
Council tax may go up to pay for water change
Independent Walker Review of Charging and Metering for Water and Sewerage services
Residential Landlords Association (RLA) Government's proposals relating to water charging

The licence fee could go, admits BBC boss: Cost of watching TV might be put on council tax bill

This shouldn't be taken too seriously but it is alarming that someone in Mark Thompson's position even considers this.  In fairness to him, he personally did not think this was a good idea.  Click on the following link to read more.
Cost of watching TV might be put on council tax bill

Make your home greener or pay higher council tax

Householders should face higher council tax and stamp duty if they refuse to make their homes greener, Government advisers say.  They want the punishments to be brought in alongside cheap 'green mortgages', under which homeowners can apply for loans to spend on energy-efficient equipment such as new boilers and even solar panels.  John Adams of Knauf Insulation, who came up with controversial proposals for the UK Green Building Council said the green loans idea would take off only if the 'carrot and stick' approach was employed.
Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband is expected to welcome the green mortgage plan, but will not make an announcement on the penalties until the autumn.
Click on the following links to read more.
Make your home greener or pay higher council tax
Greens slam tax hikes for eco unfriendly homes
The low carbon transition plan at a glance
The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan.  White paper published by the Dept. of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).

Council tax bills may have to rise to cover gold-plated public retirement funds as pensioners are 'refusing to die'

Local authorities are facing a £50billion shortfall in their pension pots after recklessly investing taxpayers' money in shares and hedge funds.
Bob Holloway, who runs the pension scheme for local government workers, has warned the gold-plated final salary schemes are no longer sustainable because people are 'refusing to die'.
The respected Public Service Journal reported that officials are considering a number of ways to tackle the deficit, including raising council tax.
Click on the following links to read more.
Council tax may rise to cover gold-plated public sector retirement funds shortfall
Council tax 'to rise' to pay for staff pensions burden