It's time to resolve the council tax problem

Christine Melsom,

Our MPs’ abuses of their expenses system have been exposed, and radical reform is now on the cards. Desperate to try and save themselves and restore some level of confidence and trust, our MPs are now showing a more humbled manner. They need to remember that they are elected and to treat their position with respect. Attitudes must change. MPs can be deselected.

Knowing that a system is fundamentally wrong and open to abuse should always result in reform. Yet when it comes to council tax, our politicians shy away from it. Why though? Could it be that the problem is now so big that no politician or party has the strength of character required to undertake the reform so desperately needed.

But ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Council tax payers have been abused with year on year inflation busting increases ever since Labour came to power in 1997 and Gordon Brown has ruthlessly exploited the weaknesses of the council tax system (but, of course, blamed the local authorities for the increases).

A tax based on the value of the property that you live in does not reflect your ability to pay that tax. Pensioners and the low paid are struggling to pay. Of course this wretched Government will say ‘that is why we have the benefit system’. But those of us who have managed to save a little towards a reasonable retirement will, of course, not be included because the formula used by this government to fix the savings ceiling has not been amended for years and does not reflect today’s poor returns on savings.

Council tax is now excessive and the system fundamentally flawed. Isitfair now calls on Parliament and the Government to take the tough decision to replace it with a fairer, more transparent system that takes into account ability to pay from income. If MPs are truly serious about restoring confidence and trust, resolving the council tax problem would be a step in the right direction.