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Letter to DCLG


 
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christine
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Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 5394
Location: Hampshire

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:54 pm    Post subject:
Letter to DCLG
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ome years ago Isitfair was having pretty regular meetings both with the Government and with the Conservatives who were then in opposition. In 2004 we appeared before a select committee and were later invited to take part in the Lyons inquiry, which subsequently proved to be nothing more than a postponement of any change in the council tax system and a complete waste of money.
The huge rises in council tax continued to impoverish many people, old and young alike. By the end of the Labour Government the rises were lower but the promise made by the Conservatives to freeze council tax was very enticing. Enter the Coalition government and the “freeze grant” which encouraged councils to do just that: freeze their council tax.
Of course we should have realised that it couldn’t last and the first signs of rises appeared from a very unexpected quarter – the town and parish councils. The larger councils, County and District began to off load the non statutory services on to these smaller councils. In some areas this was hardly noticeable in others the rises were spectacular. We knew that some were rising by double and even triple percentages.
Since the 2012-13 financial year, local authorities, fire authorities, and Police and Crime Commissioners have been required to keep their rises in council tax to below 2% or face a local referendum. But town and parish councils have never been subjected to this rule. The promised halt to town and parish rises in precept never materialised. The phrase ‘we are looking to’ became all too familiar.
Then last year the bombshell. This Government decided to offload much of its responsibility regarding adult social care on to the shoulders of the council tax payer. A whopping 2% on a band D property which this and previous Governments choose to call average. OK if you live in an area where about 80% of the properties fall into bands A or B, but what of those where the average is much higher? Living in a higher banded property is no indication of your wealth – none whatsoever.
This levy of 2% placed on the council tax payer must be the unfairest tax ever placed on one section of the public. Households paying council tax can exist of one person or many, every household paying the 2% levy. There is no difference – a family of two will pay the same amount as a family of six which may include other adults. Is that fair? Is it fair that large adult households should pay no more towards the care most of us will need and use at some time? Is it fair that some council tax payers should subsidise other wage earners well able to pay a share in this very necessary service? This is double taxation for some on a very grand scale. Of course the fairest way would have been to raise the additional funding required through the income tax system, but no Government is prepared to bite this bullet. By the way, most of this increase would be taken by salary rises.
So this year my County council tax precept could now rise by 5.99 per cent plus the rises in district, police, fire and parish. It is a great blow and once again many of us are beginning to use the phrase ‘heat or eat’.
However this Government had not yet finished its personal attack on the beleaguered council tax payer. They kindly told the councils that they could take yet another 1% of our hard earned cash or savings. Presumably to help with the ever increasing cost of local government salaries, pensions, redundancies (which by the way are very generous) and biscuits for the unending meetings to discuss just how much more they can take from us before our pips squeak.
This Government which had given us so much hope for a fairer system of funding local government has failed miserably. Their effort has superseded that of the last in as much as there is such a blatant attack on the home owner. On the whole the home owners supported this Government, but I see little chance on its present performance of that happening again.

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Mike S



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 5212
Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:56 am    Post subject:
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couldn't agree more.

I suppose we now await the mealy-mouthed reply from some back-office paper shuffler - as we have received in the past.
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christine
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Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 5394
Location: Hampshire

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:08 pm    Post subject:
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ow can they consider that it is 'perfectly reasonable'?

Dear Christine Melsom,
Thank you for your email
I am sorry that you were dissatisfied with the previous response from the
Department, and your comments have been noted. However, I am unable to add anything further to the advice already provided in my previous letters.
I note your on-going concerns about the funding of adult social care. Adult social care is delivered through local government and it is therefore perfectly reasonable for part of the council tax bill to contribute to the costs of that service. The adult social care precept provides further dedicated funding to reflect the additional pressures on local authority budgets of adult social care.
An ageing society means we need to reach a longer-term sustainable settlement for social care. The Government has committed to listening to a range of views on the best way forward and the Green Paper will set out proposals for consultation by summer 2018. This will include proposals on reforms to the care system and the way it is paid for considered in the round.
Thank you for writing in with your views.
Yours sincerely,
Lisa Gouveia

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