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Tom Brake

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington

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Sutton Council Tax Bills To Rocket - Brake

March 31, 2005 12:01 AM

Amid warnings that council tax payers in Sutton face a post-election tax bombshell, Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake and the Liberal Democrats today pledged to scrap Council Tax in favour of a Local Income Tax based on the ability to pay.

The pledge comes on the 15th anniversary of the Poll Tax riots, and the day before the revaluation date for homes in England and Scotland for future Council Tax bills. Council tax is currently based on property values in April 1991 but the government is updating its valuation figures to take account of changes in property prices since then.

Council tax bills for the next ten years will be based on property prices as of the 1 April 2005. Council Tax bills are likely to rise by over £400 because house prices have risen so fast in the area.

Liberal Democrat plans to scrap the unfair Council Tax would see a typical family's bill cut by around £450 a year. This is in contrast to Labour and Conservative plans to re-band homes for Council Tax to take account for house price inflation. In Wales, that has already led to Council Tax bills rising by as much as 22% on top of annual increases.

Tom Brake said,

"Property prices TOMORROW will be the basis for Council Tax bills for the next 10 years.

"Council Tax is simply unfair, and revaluation is a typical Labour stealth tax. Just because house prices have risen in Sutton, local people will have to struggle to find hundreds of pounds extra in Council Tax. Council tax hits pensioners and people on low and fixed incomes the hardest and revaluation is going to make it worse.

"Fifteen years ago, the unfairness of the Poll Tax led to rioting in the streets. Council Tax has already brought out the protesters, but with 7 million families facing a 20% or more hike in their bills, the protests are going to get worse.

"Both the other parties try and deny it, but they simply have no solutions to the ticking time-bomb of spiralling Council Tax bills. The biggest post-election tax rises will come from the Labour and Tory-backed plans for Council Tax re-banding.

"The whole Council Tax system is bust, and it is time to scrap it. Liberal Democrat plans to replace it with a fair system based on ability to pay would cut the typical family's bill by around £450 a year."

Anyone whose home has gone up more than the national average since 1991 will be moved into a higher tax band. That means bills will rise by up to 22%.

Sutton will be hard hit because house prices have gone up 160 per cent or more, according to the latest research from the Halifax House Price Index. Homes could move up two, three or even more bands.

In Wales, where revaluation has already happened, some families will see their council tax bill TREBLE. That could be repeated in Sutton.