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Local Taxation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:24 pm on 4th July 2005.

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Photo of Sarah Teather Sarah Teather Shadow Minister (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) 4:24 pm, 4th July 2005

I absolutely meant that the hon. Gentleman was inadvertently misleading us Mr. Speaker.

Now that the Conservatives oppose revaluation, it is clear that they are not attached to the council tax because they believe in the philosophy of a property tax. They have said that they oppose a wealth tax and want a local service tax. Mrs. Spelman said that it costs the same amount to every person to empty the bins in every area. That shows her view of the role of local government. The nonsense that the Conservatives talk about wanting localism is underlined by that statement. It is the kind of thinking that spawned the poll tax, so the party has not moved on intellectually.

There is real tension in the Conservative party because although some say that they want localism—some of the brighter Back Benchers advocate the return to localism and getting rid of the centralist state—the hon. Lady continues to argue for a local services tax and against giving any powers back to councils. She argues for a regressive tax system.