Isn’t it time for Council Tax to be Scrutinised?                                                       by Brian Jaye 

This is the question that should be on every taxpayer’s mind especially in times of austerity.

Every taxpayer should reflect that this property tax is now in its eighteenth year, it is a tax which has increased more than any other method of taxation.  

We have all read that it doubled under the New Labour administration, but that is not what we should be looking at. We need to look back to what you were charged in 1993/94.  It is only then you arrive at the true cost to you the taxpayer.  

As an example, and not using average percentages but reality, in North Dorset the Sturminster Newton band ‘D’ precept has increased from £473.90 to £1,636.92 an increase of 245%, a far cry from doubling.

It is because of this I met with Robert Walter MP [Cons.] for North Dorset in December 2010 and requested him on behalf of Isitfair to call for debate in the House of Commons. At this time he suggested that this could be achieved through the Backbenchers’ Business Committee and that he would speak to colleagues regarding this matter. I have since received feedback from him stating quote, “While Mr Walter is sympathetic to the group’s views and is prepared to express those views on your behalf, he remains supportive of the Government’s position. Therefore he feels it would be more appropriate for the group to nominate an MP willing to lead the case”. Not what was expected of him but at least he is prepared to put forward my views. 

Isitfair feel that we should not give up our aim to achieve a Council Tax Debate in the House of Commons as apart from some passing comments by some Members of Parliament it has never been scrutinised since its inception in spite of all the problems associated with it. 

Remember, when the original Council Tax Bill was presented to the House of Commons in March 1991 it included the following statements, [a] seen to be fair [b] take into account ability to pay [c] ease of collection. There are other elements within the document which certainly do not apply, such as “there will be a single bill for each household comprising two essential elements, the number of adults living there and the value of the property”, and “the system should ensure that regional variations in property values do not lead to disproportionate bills in high price areas”. Do these principles exist today? Simply, No! With regards to “ease of collection” 1.2 million court summonses were issued in England in 2008/9. 

We therefore request all our members to contact their Members of Parliament requesting them to place before the Backbenchers’ Business Committee a request for Council Tax to be debated in the House of Commons.

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