Council to lobby for new tax system

A SUFFOLK council could pile the pressure on the government for a new Council Tax system based on people's incomes if it gives the go-ahead to a new proposal.

A SUFFOLK council could pile the pressure on the government for a new Council Tax system based on people's incomes if it gives the go-ahead to a new proposal.

Ipswich Borough Council will decide on Wednesdaywhether to lobby the government for a tax linked to what people earn after councillor Richard Atkins, asked members to consider the idea.

The move comes after an unfavourable government settlement left the council struggling to balance its books and avoid spiralling levels of Council Tax.

Mr Atkins said he believed the system needs to be overhauled so the amount people pay is not related to the value of their property. He said the new system would particularly benefit those who have been made redundant and pensioners who live in large family homes, and would stop high-earners living in a small property receiving low bills.


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He added: "It is fairer to link it to people's ability to pay. Also, for every £1 it costs to collect income tax it costs £4 to collect Council Tax so there is a huge potential efficiency.

"The thing that our Labour colleagues have to recognise is that the increase that we will have again in Council Tax, which will be as popular as a lead balloon, will make it their Poll Tax if they do not support this motion.

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"People in Ipswich are having to make difficult choices. You can't eat your bricks and why should people have to sell their family homes?

"If you don't actually lobby then it almost says you accept the system how it is. It needs enough councils to say that they are having real problems."

Peter Gardiner, leader of the Labour-controlled council, said: "The general principle is part of a national Liberal Democrat drive and the government view is that they are looking at the Council Tax route itself and this is on the agenda. They will review the general process of the Council Tax.

"We support the review as we know there are anomalies and discrepancies as there are in every form of taxation we have had. We would want to see the full picture and know how a local income tax works before we form our view on this."

The motion will be considered at the meeting, which starts at 6pm in the Grand Hall in the Corn Exchange, Ipswich.

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