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Local Taxation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:20 pm on 4th July 2005.

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Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Conservative, Lancaster and Wyre 6:20 pm, 4th July 2005

I am grateful, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am trying to point out the difference between rhetoric and reality in the context of the Liberal Democrats. That leads into the detail of income tax.

I am a member of the party that introduced the poll tax. Adam Price pointed out that trying to link the use of services to the rate of pay was, in one sense, a noble aim in that a poll tax should be based on consumption. However, problems were faced when the poll tax was implemented. Local income tax seems an attractive policy on the Lib Dem website, but when we start asking questions about PAYE and how the tax will deal with large-scale redundancies in an area, issues arise about the income base. For example, my constituency is next to British Aerospace and Springfield nuclear fuels. There is also a manufacturing plant in Calder Vale, which recently announced a fairly large number of redundancies. How would local income tax respond to that, for example? There are more than 3,000 jobs—perhaps 10,000—that are reliant on British Aerospace.