According to the Sunday Telegraph, a new way of calculating how council tax (local government taxes) are set will take account of aspects of a locality such as crime in setting the tax band. The nicer and less crime-ridden the area, the higher the tax you pay. Areas such as Chelsea and Westminster (I live in the latter area) will see their tax bills soar, while presumably if you live in a place such as Hackney, one of the most deprived and crime-ridden areas, your bill goes down. Marvellous. This is hardly an incentive for people to help curb crime and contribute to making their neighbourhoods more pleasant places in which to live.
One of the tropes of the MSM in recent years has been how the present New Labour government has turned away, in part, from the politics of punitive taxation as practised by Labour governments in the past. This is more about image than reality, however. Inheritance tax is biting into a broad swathe of the affluent middle class, the sort of folk that switched to Labour in 1997 or simply refused to vote for the Tories. Now Labour, in order to finance the swelling ranks of public workers, is proposing to hammer those same classes again. Even the Tories, who have been supine on the tax issue under the leadership of David Cameron, have started to kick up a stink on this issue.
The increasingly intrusive powers of officials in judging the values of our homes, coupled with this latest threatened increase, promises to be a gift to the Tories, if only they have the cojones to play the issue properly. The threatened increases are likely to hit precisely those marginal constituencies that the Tories must take from Labour to stand a chance of winning the next election. This does not look very intelligent from Labour’s point of view.