Thursday, May 09, 2013

Local government: our masters want "freedom" to take our money

Labour, we are told has been accused of plotting to end Council Tax discounts for those living alone.

In a formal submission to ministers, the Local Government Association (LGA) is calling for the power to end the 25 percent discount offered in recognition of the fact single people place fewer demands on local services. 

Among the thing here which chill the bones, though – apart from the proposal itself – is the assertion that the discount currently "costs" around £2.7 billion a year. 

The idea that not charging a particular tax is a "cost" is pure Soviet in its purest form. Does income tax at a rate of, say, less than 90 percent, also represent a cost to the state? 

But it does not stop there. The LGA is also complaining about the legislation which requires them to hold a local referendum if they want to increase council tax by more than two percent a year. 

The rule was introduced following a free-for-all during Labour's years in power when council tax bills doubled. No council has yet dared to stage a referendum, although a number raised council tax by 1.99 percent this year (including my own). 

Now says the LGA, town halls should be free to raise council tax "by as much as they like", thus consigning even this limited example of direct democracy to the dustbin of history. 

And, of course, if this comes to pass, anyone who refused to pay the impost goes straight to jail, with no defence permitted. And there are people in this country who still believe this country to be a democracy. 

Harrogate agenda anyone?