Threat of new supplementary council tax

Government plans for higher taxes in local neighbourhoods

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Cllr Greg Hands has reacted with concern this week at Government plans to introduce a supplementary council tax, on top of existing local bills. Under the proposals announced by John Prescott, new ‘neighbourhood improvement districts’ could charge local residents a hefty top-up on council tax bills.

The tax would be modelled on Government proposals for ‘business improvement districts’, where higher business rates can be charged on local firms in a specific area for up to five years. Yet in Hammersmith & Fulham, council tax bills have already risen by £406 – 56% – since 1997, equivalent to 5 times the rate of inflation.

Greg said: “Across the country, council tax bills have gone through the roof since Labour came to power, with typical households in Hammersmith & Fulham now paying £406 a year more in council tax.

“The way to make our neighbourhoods better places to live isn’t even higher local taxes on hard-working families and pensioners. We need value for money and less waste.

“Can we really trust Mr Blair’s Government not to cut Whitehall funding if a supplementary council tax were introduced?

“Many councils have already seen their central funding for neighbourhood wardens disappear after three years – leaving council tax bills to fund them. And we are seeing with planning fees how the extra money that Hammersmith & Fulham can raise in fees is to be offset by less government cash for council planning departments.

“Labour’s plans for ‘improvement districts’ have the words ‘stealth tax’ written all over them.”


February 6, 2005