Council Tax

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 20th May 2008.

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Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 2:30 pm, 20th May 2008

Yes, it was Sir Michael Lyons who said that the property-based tax was an important element in the accountability of local authorities to the people that they serve. It is clearly important that local authorities have some flexibility, and we have recently decided that we will give them the ability to raise supplementary business rates in their area, subject to a whole range of safeguards to ensure that they do not impose a burden on business. There are already business improvement districts, in which local people get a vote on raising more money so that they can do the things that really matter to their local communities. It is important that we do not enter into the debate on a local income tax lightly, because such a tax would involve a massive shift from older people to hard-working families. I know that the Liberal Democrats choose to talk about a local income tax as though there would be no losers; actually, there would be many thousands of losers, mainly from hard-working families.

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