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Local Taxation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:50 pm on 4th July 2005.

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Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton Conservative, Guildford 5:50 pm, 4th July 2005

It has been said that council tax became unpopular only when it started to increase. That is probably true. There is no doubt that it is a fact in my constituency. It is not only the increase that is the problem, but the increasing knowledge among local people of what is happening to that money. Council tax in Guildford has risen by 92 per cent. since 1997–98. That is, without a doubt, mirrored to some extent in Waverley. We heard that the average council tax on a band D home has gone up 76 per cent. in the same period. Now we all face the revaluation. I cannot tell hon. Members how worried residents in Guildford are about that, and the experience in Wales does nothing to reassure them.

We heard a long speech about local income tax from the Liberal Benches, but I must be allowed my two-pennyworth. What about hard-working families? What about the teacher and nurse who live together? What about the pensioners and their savings, from which they derive a much-needed income? It irritates me enormously when the Liberals refer to pensioners. Some pensioners are slightly wealthier than others. Not all are poor. Some have worked hard all their lives and saved hard, but they are going to be taxed on that income. Also, what about students? What about people in residential care homes and nursing homes? All those people would be hit by a local income tax.

I have a list of all the taxes favoured by Liberal Democrats, who love taxes because they think they keep people in their place. They are: VAT on new homes, stealth inheritance tax, speed camera tax, rubbish tax, plastic bag tax, parking taxes to shop, parking taxes on business, land tax, income tax at a new regional rate and a new local rate, hotel taxes, 4x4 taxes. I could go on—