Why is Council Tax Unfair?
1) You pay more than the Prime Minister.
If you live in Hackney, in a normal flat, you'll pay more Council Tax than the Prime Minister, who lives in a luxurious home in central London!

That's true if you live in Haringey, Richmond, Newcastle, Blackpool… - in fact, it's true if you live in any of 175 different council areas up and down the country.
You can check here the full list of the Council Tax rates for each Local Authority.
And even if you pay less than Mr Blair did as Prime Minister - his annual bill was £1318 - you'll probably still find you pay a higher proportion of your income than he did.

Living in 11 Downing Street and earning £183,932 a year (not to mention his wife's income, for her book and her "charitable" speeches!), Blair paid just 0.7 % of his income in Council Tax.

But a pensioner living in Brent, in a band D flat, on an average pension of £13,000 a year pays £1,299.46 a year - that's only 54p shy of being 10% of his income!

A pensioner in Brent pays more than 13 times as much of his income in Council Tax as the Prime Minister does!
Read "I pay more tax than the PM!" article

2) People on low and medium incomes pay more

Whether you're a pensioner or an engineer, a barrister or a nurse, a taxi driver or the Prime Minister, it doesn't matter: if you live in a flat in the same Council tax band, you pay the same Council Tax!

That because the Council Tax is based on value of your home and takes no account of a person's income and their ability to pay.

As a result, people with less pay a greater share of their resources than those with more. In 2005, council tax accounted for 4.7% of the income of the bottom 20% of households and just 1.4% of the top 20%.

Council tax remains unfair, since it results in the poorest 20% of households paying three times as much, as a proportion of their income, as the richest 20%.

3) It is costly to collect and administer and the benefit process is extremely complex.

Simply administering the Council Tax system is vastly expensive - it costs £600m every single year!

The money goes on having separate collection systems in each council area, as well as the expensive Council Tax benefit system.

We estimate it costs about 4 times as much to collect £1 in Council Tax as to collect £1 in Income Tax: and costs will increase if the Government decide to proceed with the Council Tax Revaluation.

Council Tax benefit was designed to help the poorest people with their bills. But it simply doesn't work.

A third of families entitled to Council Tax benefit don't claim - so have to struggle with their bills instead.

And the situation's worse for pensioners: approximately 1.7 million don't claim the money they're entitled to.

These take-up rates are way below those for other benefits.

The main reasons for the dismal rate of take-up of Council Tax Benefits are that people don't know about the benefit, and if they do they're put off by the complexity of the application process - there can be as many as fifty pages of forms to fill in!

We believe that England needs a fairer system of local taxation. The Lyons Report highlights the fact that “fair taxation is based on ability to pay or income.” Thus, a local income tax would achieve the goal of developing a fairer local tax system. 

A local based income tax would remove the unfair burden that is currently placed on those least able to pay. Such a tax “could significantly reduce the burden of local taxes on those groups with the lowest average incomes, notably pensioners and lone parents.”

Furthermore, the Lyons report asserts that it would be possible to implement a locally based income tax. “A local income tax could be feasible in England and could viably replace all or part of council tax, or operate alongside it.”

That's why the Lib Dems are campaigning for the unfair Council Tax to be scrapped, and replaced with a fair system based on ability to pay.
Click here to learn more about the Local Income Tax and Revaluation.

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