Axe council tax, says senior councillor

THE leader of a political group on a Suffolk authority has called for council tax to be abolished in favour of a "fairer" income tax based solely on people's ability to pay.

THE leader of a political group on a Suffolk authority has called for council tax to be abolished in favour of a "fairer" income tax based solely on people's ability to pay.

Penny Otton, head of the Liberal Democrats on Mid Suffolk District Council, last night described existing arrangements as a "knee-jerk" reaction to the "hated" poll tax – unconsidered and ill-thought through.

She told a full meeting of the council that 70% of Suffolk's population would be better off under her group's suggested scheme, leaving pensioners and those on lower incomes with more cash in their pockets at the end of each month.

Instead, she said, only those who could truly afford to pay more would actually do so.


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She said: "We call on the deputy Prime Minister to replace the council tax, which is based on the value of one's home, with a local income tax, based on ability to pay.

"Why should those on low incomes, often fixed incomes, be forced to pay a far higher percentage of their income than those with considerably more money to spend? A system of local income tax would be fairer and easier to administer."

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Mrs Otton, who leads the opposition group on the Conservative-controlled authority, said her call had come following her party's resistance to council tax on a national level.

"The trouble is that the whole system of local government finance means authorities are reliant on grants from government," she added.

"But often figures are not know until the last minute, leaving councils to make rises in their council tax bills.

"We estimate a local income tax will make things better for around 70% of the population, while those who can afford to pay more will do so."

The call comes following a series of massive council tax hikes throughout Suffolk, which have provoked a storm of opposition from residents furious at rises year after year.

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