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Local Taxation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:43 pm on 4th July 2005.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Whip 5:43 pm, 4th July 2005

I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

If the hon. Gentleman checks the Library figures for Richmond, which many people would agree is an affluent area, he will see that it has an average household income of £27,000 a year. People tend to forget that most households do not have two full-time wage earners. Many households are made up of pensioners, one person earning a wage or people working part-time. That adequately demonstrates my point that politicians are often out of touch with what is happening on the ground.

Finally, I cannot resist noting the irony of the Conservatives calling for this debate. Perhaps that is because I am from Scotland, where the lasting image of the Conservatives is one of Thatcher imposing the poll tax. She used Scotland as the guinea pig, and of course the protests went unheeded until England complained. During the recent election campaign, the Conservative leader said:

"Council tax is the best form of local taxation there is".

Such disregard for people's huge concerns about the council tax system, coupled with the memory of the imposition of the poll tax and the blatant lack of substance of policy, means that the Tories have no credibility on this matter.