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Local Taxation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:40 pm on 4th July 2005.

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Photo of Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Labour, Southampton, Test 4:40 pm, 4th July 2005

My hon. Friend makes a valid point. If it is accepted that more power should be returned to local level, that goes along with the idea that funding for local decisions should be made locally to a greater extent. Decisions on that funding, and the extent of that funding, must be made locally. There are no proposals from Conservatives to raise the amount of money that is raised locally through council tax. Indeed, the opposite is the case, given what they say about how their various giveaways should be funded. They wish to see the proportion of money that comes from the centre increased. At the same time, they say, having examined the charts erroneously, that the sums that the Government are making local people pay through local tax are increasing.

The amount raised by the business rate has fallen. If there is a review and an outcome, the buoyancy of the tax take across the board must be considered as a whole. The hon. Member for Meriden failed to set out the proposal at the centre of her party's proposals when going into the general election. It was proposed to freeze the amount of money going into local government. The hon. Lady shook her head in response to the quote from the shadow Chancellor on 16 February 2004, but that was—