Saturday, March 24, 2007

The dreaded Council Tax bill arrives!

Our Council tax for 2007/8 has arrived and is a whopping £1,200.05. How is that money justified?

Well, let us delve more deeply into the numbers. First of all, our house is classed as a Band D, which is sort of ordinary. The bands are based on how much the house was worth in 1991, fifteen years ago. Now putting aside how realistic or fair it is to base the value of your house on what you contribute to local taxes (rather than what local services you consume) it does give a profile of people paying different amounts. For Leeds, the ratio is roughly as follows:

A 40.25%
B 20.65%
C 19.1%
D 9.2%
E 5.8%
F 2.8%
G 2.0%
H 0.2%

Now these households pay a ratio of the Band D amount in ninths, as follows:

A - 6/9
B - 7/9
C - 8/9
E - 11/9
F - 13/9
G - 15/9
H - 18/9

There is also a hidden bottom band which used to be called band W but is now referred to as Band A (5/9) where a disabilities discount is granted.

So for a £1,200 bill, the Band A's pay £800 and the Band H's pay £2,400. (Of course there are discounts and benefits to ease the bill for the needy).



So now you know.

The Leeds City Council amount is £1,182.20 and on top of that we pay £17.85 to Morley Town council. (Other Bands follow the ninths formula.)

The Leeds sum includes two specific precepts- for policing (£118.02) and Fire & Rescue (£48.02) so Leeds get to keep £1,016.16.

Expressing it weekly, we pay as follows:

Leeds £19.54
Police £2.27
Fire £0.92
MTC £0.34
=============
TOTAL £23.07

It doesn't sound too much when expressed that way. However, it is grossly misleading as local taxes only make up a small amount of Local Council revenue- most of it comes from Central Government through a series of complex, arcane and readily manipulative (by the government) formulae. This is why larger than inflation increases in local tax don't have the same beneficial effect in Council budgets- the pips are getting squeezed by the men from the Ministry.

This is summarised by Leeds as follows:

Where does the money come from?
Service Specific Government Grants 46%
Fees and charges 14%
Council Tax 13%
Business Rates 13%
Rents 9%
General Government Grant 2%
Other 3%

Where does the money go?
Employees 49%
Supplies and transport 30%
Payment of benefits etc 12%
Paying debt and interest 5%
Premises 4%

These are the actual services:


Let us put this into big numbers context. What is the overall budget of the Council?

£1,848,400,000 (to the nearest hundred thousand pounds).

That is a Gosh number. Nearly TWO BILLION POUNDS, nearly half of which goes on salaries for the 35,000 employees. It makes you think...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE ISITFAIR COUNCIL TAX PROTEST GROUP

For further press information, please contact: Christine Melsom on 01428-712680 or E-mail c@isitfair.co.uk

22 March 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

[start of press release]

ISITFAIR CAMPAIGN'S REACTION TO LYONS INQUIRY REPORT

Christine Melsom, founder of the Isitfair Council Tax protest group, issued the following statement following yesterday's publication of the final report of the Lyons Inquiry into Local Government.

"We've waited 3 years for their recommendations and we can find very few crumbs of comfort for supporters of Isitfair. We will continue to campaign for a fairer system of taxation for local services.

The recommendations, if ever implemented, may help some of those who currently struggle to meet their bills but they fail to address the root causes of the growing opposition to Council Tax and are no more than a patching up exercise.

The Lyons Inquiry acknowledges the unfairness of Council Tax but was unwilling to bite the bullet and propose any radical change for the foreseeable future.

Their proposals for additional bands are merely tinkering with the present system. People living in large houses are not necessarily rich and people living in low banded houses are not necessarily poor. The inherent unfairness of the present system cannot be addressed by a few changes to property bands.

We strongly oppose the proposed removal of capping on Council Tax increases as long as the present system remains. This would inevitably be the green light for councils to impose further massive hikes in Council Tax.

We then have the prospect of additional charges for waste collection and also a proposed tourist tax. We believe the cost of collecting and administering such taxes would be disproportionate to the amount of additional tax being raised.

We welcome the proposal to increase the savings limit for Council Tax Benefit eligibility as a short term measure. However if the tax was related to income and/or spending the complete Council Tax Benefits system would be irrelevant as would the need for regular property revaluations.

Isitfair is sometimes wrongly portrayed as a campaign only for pensioners - we do not support an entitlement to a reduction in Council Tax based solely on age. There are many non-pensioners struggling to pay this tax, and there are also some pensioners for whom Council Tax is a trivial expense. Isitfair represents people of all age groups who are being unfairly affected by Council Tax and we want a fairer system for everyone.

We have published our own "Alternative Lyons Report", an independent study conducted for Isitfair, which can be found at http://www.isitfair.co.uk/MichealBoon/mb_page.asp "

[end of press release]

For further press information, please contact: Christine Melsom on 01428-712680 or E-mail c@isitfair.co.uk

Issued by Isitfair Campaign, Headley, Hampshire GU35 8PJ

james higham said...

That's a staggering sum, Ian. The figures just don't add up, do they? Can something be done?

Delicolor said...

James asks- can something be done?

I suspect not, we are so used to the Governments (local and national) fleecing us for all of these "services".

Obviously they have to be paid for, but if people only paid for what we wanted and actually used that would focus a few minds.

Leeds has a large Plaza called City Square- one Councillor described it as the worlds most expensive patio.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I can't do maths, as you know, Ig. But that does seem a massive bill to me! Here, the landlord pays it - or I hope he does! The only bit of Tory legislation I ever supported was the poll tax - Ok, shoot me now! - because it was fair on the genuinely single. [Going to hide now.]

Delicolor said...

It is amazing how people still apologise for supporting Mrs. T more than a decade after the event.

I knew that the council tax was unfair when my scummy rented one room flat in Nottingham was classified as Band C.

The Poll tax was hijacked by lots of lefty councils and Swampy types who made sure that it really did end up unfair.