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Local Taxation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 4th July 2005.

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Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Secretary of State (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) 3:32 pm, 4th July 2005

My hon. Friend David T.C. Davies has excellent eyesight, Mr. Speaker, and he has made the very astute observation that there are no Welsh Labour Members in the Chamber today. I wonder why that might be—[Interruption.] I see that Kevin Brennan has taken his place—just in time!

Some Labour Members might welcome council tax inflation as a means of wealth redistribution. The last time we debated this matter, I detected a real enthusiasm among them for new upper council tax bands. But council tax is not a wealth tax; it is a local services tax that is partly based on property to reflect the fact that larger properties typically make slightly greater use of public services. The swingeing increases that we are now seeing have hurt some of the poorest people, and that is what is so unjust. People on fixed incomes, notably pensioners, suffer more than others as a result of the Government's abuse of the council tax.