Council Tax Cover Up

Scrap this rotten system now

25 May 2009
Hundreds of thousands of properties are still in the wrong council tax band despite this problem being known about since at least 2005.  This cover up was originally reported in February 2008:


Is your property in the wrong band? Up to 400,000 properties are possibly affected.  This has been known about since 2005 but Ministers decided to do nothing.  Read more...


New documents have shown that more than 700,000 households may have been overcharged to the tune of tens of millions.  Yet again, council tax payers continue to be ripped off by this thoroughly discredited taxation system:


700,000 overcharged in the great council tax 'cover-up'


Knowingly overcharging council tax payers is surely theft?  The current revelations about MP's expenses shows that this is a particular area of expertise for many of them.   Ripping off the tax payer one way or the other seems to be of no concern to them.  If these 700,000 properties were being under charged would they still turn a blind eye?

The council tax system is a thoroughly rotten system of taxation.  It was rushed through as a replacement for the poll tax, another disastrous system.  The system was not properly 'thought through' and its weaknesses have been ruthlessly exploited by Gordon Brown ever since Labour came to power in 1997.

The principle of the system is that the value of the property you happen to live in reflects your ability to pay the tax amount levied.  This is complete and utter nonsense, the arguments of which are well documented. Council tax has to be paid from whatever means of income you may have. It does not take into account your ability to pay that tax from whatever means of income you may have.

The amount raised by each local authority does not bear any relationship to the amount of their budget that they are free to decide.  For example, a local authority may raise 45% of its annual income via council tax but only have total discretion over say 6% of its budget.  This is a very high price to pay for local democracy.

The Government has no intention of changing the system to make it fair or equitable.  The annual tax amount is now £25bn.  Each year this amount increases and with it the problem becomes even harder to resolve.  The politicians of Government simply do not have the strength of character required to address this problem.  Government cynically blames the local authorities for the year on year inflation busting increases.  However, it is Central Government that is responsible for these increases through their manipulation of the grant system and unfunded additional responsibilities imposed on local authorities.


What to do now

We need a new system of local taxation that is fair to all.  It is possible and many countries have such a system.  Until this new system is implemented, we call for the current system to be scrapped.  Everyone in the UK benefits from local services one way or another.  Therefore, we believe that in the short term, IT and VAT should be raised to cover the cost of council tax.  Everyone will make a contribution and that contribution will be based on their ability to pay.

What to do next

Over the years, Isitfair has met with all of the three main political parties and has put forward alternative suggestions for council tax.  We also actively participated in the Lyons Inquiry.  However, nothing has changed and that is why we now believe that 'the politicians simply do not have the strength of character required to address this problem.'

We therefore urge everyone who believes that the current system is unfair to write to their MP asking them to take up the cause.  After all, MPs are supposed to represent their constituent’s views, aren't they?  Perhaps after the next general election we will have some new MPs who aren't afraid to tackle this problem.