Reduction in Council Tax, please

Pretty but not practical

Snow 5th January 2010

Our current snowman. Yes, it is a man as it is wearing hubby's old jacket.
Our current snowman. Yes, it is a man as it is wearing hubby's old jacket.
Hubby playing with the dogs in our yard. Don't know which one enjoyed the snow the most?
Hubby playing with the dogs in our yard. Don't know which one enjoyed the snow the most?

Every householder in the UK pays Council Tax. This tax and its predecessors pay for local services and councils.

Before Mrs Thatcher came to power, and decided to play Robin Hood, householders paid rates on their home. This was based on the value of their home and so inevitably the rich paid higher rates than the poor.

Thatcher's Government looked at ways to redress the balance. Of course they did not look at evening this tax out but tilting it in favour of wealthier people. This meant that a wealthy woman, for example, living in a palatial mansion paid the same poll tax as poorer individual living on a sink estate.

This poll tax or as it was also known communitycharge was hugely unpopular. On the whole we British are armchair revolutionaries but the Poll Tax saw demonstrations across the country and some citizens choosing jail instead of payment of this tax.It is probably true to say that the Poll tax helped hammer home, one of the nail's in Thatcher's political coffin.

This tax was replaced by the Council Tax which initially seemed a little fairer.

The problem is that there are still inequalities but on the whole, to my, mind it is the fairest of the three taxes detailed here.

However............

The creation of this hub is down to the recent snowfalls in the UK.

With many councils struggling to make ends meet snow clearing seems to have vanished from its list of duties.

Of course, most councils will be at pains to point out that the major roads have been kept open. However, I thought that current political thinking was to try and encourage populations to steer well clear of driving everywhere?

As the pavements have been left in a treacherous state, up and down the country, many motorists have only ventured out to shopping centres and the like. This means that small businesses which are already struggling have seen a dip in trade. With few places to park in the middle of small shopping areas, motorists avoid these shops like the plague.

The streets have less people around and so they are more dangerous, in so many ways. If you are out walking on the snow and ice, and meet a mugger god help you.

However, there has of course, been an increase in weather related accidents. The Accident and Emergency department's of hospitals have been overflowing with patients who have potential fractures and the like.

I know you are wondering where I am leading you, but stick with it.

Currently the UK is a little like, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost. However, currently it is more like, for the want of some grit a city was lost.

The paths at the edge of the road, where I live, suffered serious damage when the area was flooded in the Summer of 2007. As none of these paths have been repaired ,the snow and ice have compounded the problem. With so many residents opting to block pave their front gardens, to accommodate their beloved cars, there is now also a slight slope in front of each of these houses. So you have to contend with snow, ice, broken paths and uneven surfaces. Just perfect if you are elderly, visually impaired or have mobility issues.

All of this mayhem has been caused by many council's failure to clear the snow. Gritting seems to be a thing of the past, and snow shovellers, well you must be joking.

Back to the Council Tax

Each year, since the Council Tax became law, this tax has increased. At one time, when the Conservatives were in power, Labour councils were penalised. The contribution made by the Government is levied each year and the Tories always hit Labour strongholds. With Labour in power, the reverse is happening.

All of this means its a bit hit and miss what you pay.

Suffice to say though that you will pay more each year. There is a single person reduction, other such reductions and a means tested benefit, for those eligible, but most householders will be paying through the nose.

If your Council Tax for last year was a £1,000 last year and this year it rises by 5% you will pay £1,050. This may not sound a large increase but consider a few facts:

  • The Council Tax was introduced in 1993
  • It has increased each year.
  • The tax was originally set for each household on a vague value of your home.
  • This means that there are banding's, which start with A banded homes paying the least.
  • As house values plummeted Governments shied away from revaluing.
  • Revaluing is due to take place in the next few years and some councils are hoping for a 30% increase in council tax.

Of course, they have you by the proverbial short and curlies. None payment of Council Tax attracts a jail term, with the debt still due after sentence has been served.

With a general election a certainty for 2010 the situation could worsen, depending who wins.

Many councils are in dire straits, having made bad investments, in the past. Some are already cutting staff and services but yet, there is nothing so certain as the fact that council tax biils across the country, will be more expensive in 2010 and thereafter.

So, I think that we should have a reduction in our Counci Tax bills. To hell with an increase.

The fact that the paths have been left in such a dangerous condition this winter, which has led to all of the above problems, listed above, surely means that the councils have not fulfilled their duty?

I wait with bated breath.

Council Tax bills for 2010 will be received around March and require at least a first payment in April.

In The Bleak Mid Winter, not so long ago.

In the grit-less winter

Councils began to moan

They had little money,

Snow clearing couldn't be done.

Snow had fallen

Snow on ice

Snow and ice and snow

In our current winter

Not so long ago.

Up and down the country

Broken legs and arms

Pavements cracked and damaged

Will cause us yet more harm.

All too soon our taxes

Will be raised and set

Demands for lots of money

Which may put you into debt.

This leaves a puzzling question

For those that have to pay

Just what are we paying for

and how the Hell will we pay.

In The Bleak Mid Winter

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Comments 9 comments

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Thanks for thr input Annette. I wrote this hub before the snow got really bad, and when the council could have acted differently.

I am a Band B property and mine is a three bedroomed house with a double garage. Nonsense eh. I do not wnat mine to go though as I pay around £110 a month and it will no doubt rise in April.

Still we must keep council executives in the style to which they have become accustomed, musn't we?


Annette 6 years ago

I loved your In the bleak mid-winter clip - my favourite carol. Thank you for that.

I am doubly annoyed with the council tax. I live in a 2 bed flat and am on band E and pay 180 pounds a month!!! After a bit of investigation I found out that half of the residents in our block of flats are on band D and the other half are on band E. All of the flats are the same size and two beds. I tried to get ours lowered to band D but the council wouldn't do it. Suprise Suprise! I wonder if they made the others go up to a Band E? Luckily, we are only renting and plan to buy this year and will be aiming for a band A or B property as I am fed up of the council tax going up every year, but our wages staying the same. And no, they didn't grit where I live either (Bristol).Grrr!!


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Woodamarc. The trouble is here that if we get a change of Governement, to Conservative, they will not do anything about this tax. They will simply redistribute wealth to the wealthy.

Still I shall keep plugging away with my one little voice and hope somewhere along the line people wake up.


woodamarc profile image

woodamarc 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

No different here with big government stealing money out of our pockets to fulfill the socialist agenda. Our bills have so much pork for special interest groups we only feed the government mafia coffers. Our current bills have done very little if anything to stimulate the working economy. However, these huge bills are very good at building bigger government. We the people are being deceived and sold out by our own government. We're promised better education, health, family services, etc., and all we get is less service, poor quality, deteriorating infrastructure. This is a global phenomena that's impacting the developed countries to redistribute wealth to underdeveloped countries. Much of our manufacturing is going overseas for cheap inhuman labor practises. I'm completely against these practises because it hits the traditional middle income families really hard throughout the globe as it has in your neck of the woods. These tax burdens are breaking our infrastructure and tearing families apart. To add insult to injury... If our National health bill gets through the senate, people could be thrown into jail if they didn't pay their fair share of the premium. Kind of like your council tax law you were describing. Government needs to learn to earn their salaries through performance reviews. Like all US citizens working for corporation, or small business, we must show results, or we're out of work/business. Why does government get a free pass? I'll tell you why, we the voters have not voted them out of office for bad performance. Because things are not bad enough for us yet, we still have much comfort. But our freedoms and liberties are beginning to quickly erode around us. We the world working class need to act now through our voices and votes within our own countries democracies to reduce big government and hold them accountable for their inefficiencies. By getting involved you make a difference in government change. Good for you for considering getting involved in your political system as this will make a difference in mass. In this way, we would never be threated with imprisonment because we can't pay their inflated overhead, by the very government we've paid into all of our working years. When a government entity comes up with penal laws for overinflated services, etc., then you know, you have a bunch of crooks running the show. Get active and vote them out, vote yourself, or better representation in! Good post by getting politically active and voicing your concerns.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Thanks for the visits folks. Yes Wayne I have been thinking about getting more political as far as our council goes. I hope if you do move that you find a great place to live. Wish I had done it when I was younger


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 6 years ago from India

Hi, it is same here in India. Govt keeps increasing the house tax as we call it here without any betterment in the service provided by the local governing body. It is really shame but out here like in delhi they have divided in to zones and each zone has different rate of tax and also they calculate on per sq ft of ur covered area. SO if you got 5000 sq ft of lawn you pay no tax on it.


waynet profile image

waynet 6 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

I dread increases in rent and household bills of any kind, but they increase them anyway whilst the services remain the same as they always have been, and that's crap service especially from the council.

Council tax is one of them bills that will always rise, but we also take into account the increase of smaller items like bus fare, that rises every year by 5p-10p, but other costs that we pay such as phone bills seem to rise and pretty much the cost of living will be for those who have the money or are prepared to work 80+ hour weeks.

I've already made up my mind, when things pick up this year financially with me, I'm moving out of this country that thinks more about immigrants and wants to make us pay more taxes.

Great hubpage, you should make this as a petition to reduce council tax because they certainly aren't doing their job good enough to warrant pay rises!!


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Thanks Hello. I am dreading next years bill, aren't you.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for a superb hub. That council tax really should be reduced in the present problem. It certainly would ease the burden.

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