Tag Archives: council tax

David Cameron poaches Lib Dem tax-cuts idea. (But that’s not half as annoying as the Tory ideas my party’s trying to claim.)

It’s amazing how much more popular with David Cameron the Lib Dems’ flagship policy of taking the low-paid out of income tax is these days… Just today he celebrated delivering an income tax cut for 25 million people and lifting 2.4 million low earners out of tax:

It’s all a bit of a contrast from the first 2010 televised leaders’ debate, when David Cameron argued the policy was unaffordable… unlike the Tories’ own proposals for raising the inheritance tax threshold to £1m or tax breaks for married couples, of course.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 16 Comments

Opinion: Why do the government tax people on the value of their home?

View from Launceston CastleI am not a politician or economist, nor am I some great thinker of our age. I am just a normal man, single, living in rented accommodation, in a well-paid job, for my part of the world. Yet I still have to rent out my second bedroom to afford normal things like the internet, satellite TV and the occasional visit to a good restaurant. I have to pay out £830 a month just for my Council Tax, rent, petrol and energy before I even eat, let alone pay for the internet or satellite TV!

Posted in Op-eds | 40 Comments

There should be far more rebellions like the one yesterday

A brief footnote to Stephen’s piece yesterday Government suffers defeat in Lords over ‘new poll tax’ changes to council tax benefits. Note what the rebellion was over:

An independent review of the changes to be carried out within three years of them being introduced.

Yup, that shocking idea that after a new policy is introduced, we should leave it a little while and then someone should go and take a look how

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Government suffers defeat in Lords over ‘new poll tax’ changes to council tax benefits

The Government has suffered a defeat today on changes to the system of paying council tax benefit. As part of the Coalition’s existing welfare cuts, council tax relief is being reduced and local authorities are being given the power to set their own eligibility criteria from April 2013. As the Financial Times reported last week:

The coalition has earmarked £100m for councils that promise to limit the sums poorer people must pay to around 8.5 per cent of the full council tax rate – less than half what some local authorities are considering. … Lord Best, president of the Local Government Association, will on Tuesday propose an amendment

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News snippets from the Conservative conference: tax, Europe, migration and more

Conservative Party logoTrouble ahead on tax as Osborne opposes a mansion tax:

We are not going to have a mansion tax, or a new tax that is a percentage value of people’s properties.

Before you rush to spot the loophole in that – what about adding extra higher bands to Council Tax? – he opposed that too. Given Osborne made much of his reputation as was by opposing changes to inheritance tax, perhaps it is on capital gains tax that there will be room fro an agreement with the …

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Andrew Stunell MP writes… Launching the Liberal Democrats’ local election campaign

Local Election Day is now exactly a month away for most of Metropolitan England as well as across the whole of Scotland and Wales. Nick Clegg was in my own area of Stockport earlier today to officially launch the Liberal Democrat local election campaign, visiting a local business and speaking with councillors, business owners and local people.

I’ve no doubt that many of you have been out on the doorstep over the last few months, talking to people and showing them what we are achieving both nationally and locally.

You will already have your big messages in place. Number one has got …

Posted in Local government | Also tagged , , , , and | 8 Comments

Cutting council tax – the view from a Lib Dem council

Liberal Democrat run Three Rivers District Council has just set its part of the council tax at an average of £154.30 – just over 2% BELOW the equivalent figure for 2006/07. This is a cash reduction, so next year people will be paying 2.3% less than they were paying six years earlier. When inflation is taken into account, the cut is almost 20%.

Only one other local authority (Hammersmith & Fulham) has achieved a cash reduction over this period – and unlike the London borough, Three Rivers was not previously run by a profligate Labour administration to provide easy targets for …

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Council Tax – why not a premium for second homes?

In addition to the Government’s proposals to allow councils to charge full council tax on second homes, other Liberal Democrat MPs and I have tabled an amendment to the Local Government Finance Bill to give councils the discretion to introduce a Second Home Premium. Second home owners often ask why they should be ‘punished’ in this way just because they choose to spend their money on a second home or because they need a second home for work purposes. They may add, ‘we spend money in the area and we do not have the same call upon services as …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

Opinion: Council dilemma – to raise or not to raise?

As councils across the country wrestle with this year’s Council Tax dilemma, here’s just one example of the dynamics involved.

To Raise or not to Raise? That’s the burning question to be answered early in 2012. Should Stockton Council accept the bribe on offer from the government to keep the Council Tax at the same level as last year, or ignore the offer and raise the tax?

On the surface it sounds like a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t we vote to keep the tax at the same level as last year when all around us residents are having to find more …

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

Should councils be able to cap the number of second and holiday homes in their area?

Earlier this week, the Lib Dems’ Communities and Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell wrote here on LibDemVoice about the Coalition’s measures to increase councils’ powers to cut tax relief to those with second homes:

… our plans to allow local authorities to charge an Empty Homes Premium – up to an extra 50% of council tax – on any property that has been vacant for two years or more. Crucially, we are retaining the exemptions for properties empty as a result of the death of an owner, or if the owner has moved into hospital or to give or

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Housing: six things that could be done

As Tim Leunig pointed out last week, housing plays an important role in most people’s concept of social mobility, a point highlighted in Stephen Gilbert’s piece over the summer recounting his own personal circumstances:

Last year I was probably the only MP to be elected while still living with my parents. Of course, I’d moved out of home and, like many others, had to move back again. It’s a symptom of the fact that housing policy in the UK is in crisis. We have millions of people languishing on social housing waiting lists, first-time-buyers priced out of the market

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Andrew Stunell MP writes: Lib Dems should welcome localist reforms of Council Tax

Liberal Democrats have long called for reform to local government finance. No matter what alternative systems we’ve proposed, the key element has always been that the revenue was raised locally, and decisions about how to spend that money were taken locally. As you would expect of a Government with a Liberal Democrat influence, the Coalition is adopting that same approach. The consultation on the relocalisation of Business Rates has just ended, and today’s announcement by DCLG of the Technical Consultation on Council Tax contains a number of positive news stories for Liberal Democrats.

Take second homes for instance. You …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 17 Comments

What Liberal Democrat members think of different tax policies

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members responded, and we’re currently publishing the full results.

Cut income tax and VAT but raise taxes on property: that’s the message from Liberal Democrat party members in our latest survey. Some answers to our tax questions are unsurprising, such as the North Korean style (or, for older readers, the Albanian style) majority in favour of raising the personal allowance threshold for income tax to £12,500, approximately equivalent to what a …

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Paul Scriven writes: we cannot let Labour off the hook on Council cuts

Just like all local authorities up and down the land, Sheffield is facing the biggest reduction in our budget for many years as a direct result of the reckless spending carried out by the previous Labour Government. Not quite the ‘post Soviet meltdown’ predicted by Sheffield’s Labour MPs, but a reduction none the less.

Setting the budget has not been an easy process. Colleagues and I have been agonising over what to de-prioritise and what to protect, listening to what local people tell us they value the most whilst ensuring that the vulnerable in our community are protected.

I know that …

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Opinion: what Ed Miliband should put on his blank sheet of paper – part 1

Ed Miliband has invited Lib Dems to make suggestions for his 2015 manifesto. In doing so, he is treading a well-worn path: from Tony Blair, who borrowed Alan Beith’s proposal for an independent Bank of England and a chunk of our policy on constitutional reform, to David Cameron, who borrowed a lot of our policy on civil liberties.

Imitation is a form of flattery, but it isn’t always sincere. I believe Ed Miliband spoke from the heart in his campaign for the Labour leadership, when he said that he would like to make us extinct. I’ve no doubt he would like …

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What do the academics say? Tax and public support

Welcome to the latest in our occasional series highlighting interesting findings from academic research. This time it is a paper from David Brockington (University of Plymouth) and Todd Donovan (Western Washington University) looking at the political impact of increasing taxes.

After reviewing the work of others in this area, they focus in on council tax levels and election results in English local councils, comparing the performance of Labour and Conservative against changes in council tax levels:

We have tested if governments that presided over marginal increases in existing taxes lost vote share and seat share in the subsequent election. We find that

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“Lib Dems plotting council tax hike for second homes”

So reports the Independent on Sunday:

Owners of second homes could be stripped of their council tax discount under Liberal Democrat plans to raise millions of pounds for town halls.

Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is among ministers who back ending rules that force local authorities to cut bills by 10 to 50 per cent for owners of weekend bolt-holes. In a Commons motion, the Lib Dem president, Tim Farron, suggested the cost of providing the discount could be spent on local services or cutting council tax bills for all…

Mr Farron, whose Cumbrian constituency has more than

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 27 Comments

Opinion: prove you’re in the library or face a bill, students told

Officialdom seems to have opened a new front in its battle against those who commit the terrible sin of studying while black.

One of my students has been sent a summons to appear in court for not paying full Council Tax. The problem arises because non-EU students come in on a visa that specifies they must be recorded as being actively taught in college for at least 15 hours per week in college premises.

However, to be exempt from Council Tax a “full-time” student must study for 21 hours per week. Hands up anyone who got a degree …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 18 Comments

Our correspondents in Scotland

This is the first in a regular series of articles by Scottish-based bloggers giving their thoughts about developments in Scottish politics. Bernard Salmon is a Lib Dem activist based in Inverness and blogs at thesoundofgunfire.blogspot.com.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond proved himself to be a wee sleekit cowerin’ tim’rous beastie last week.

His betrayal of the SNP pledge to abolish the council tax and replace with a so-called ‘local’ income tax (in reality a nationally-set tax of 3p in the pound) was supposedly motivated by the fact that the parliamentary arithmetic was against him. Although the Scottish Lib Dems supported …

Posted in Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments
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