Brighton and Hove Greens push for rich to bear burden of reformed council tax

Posted On 27 Aug 2013 at 11:04 am

Brighton and Hove Green Party has backed a proposed “Robin Hood” tax or progressive council tax.

The plans to reform council tax were supported at a meeting of the local party last Wednesday (21 August).

And the subject will be tackled at the Green Party autumn conference which is being held at the Hilton Brighton Metropole from Friday 13 September to Monday 16 September.

Members want to wealthier households to shoulder a greater burden of the cost of paying for local council services.

Ben Duncan, one of the Green councillors for Queen’s Park, wrote on his Kemptown Ben blog that council tax bills would “fall or stay the same for as a many as 80 per cent of city residents”.

People living in households with an income of more than £50,000 a year would be expected to pay more.

Councillor Ben Duncan

Councillor Ben Duncan

Councillor Duncan, a member of Brighton and Hove City Council, said that it could raise extra money to plug the gap left by another round of cuts – “more than £20 million this year alone”.

He said that a progressive council tax had not been tried before, adding: “We’ll certainly face a few pitfalls, curve-balls and unintended consequences along the way.

“Nervousness about the unknown even caused one councillor at the meeting to threaten to resign if the meeting adopted the policy (a bully-boy tactic I’m glad to say didn’t work) and one former councillor to lament afterwards: ‘I fear we’ve just made ourselves unelectable.’

“I think exactly the opposite: that we’ve just agreed to a radical idea that serves to explain to people up and down the country what we’re all about: finding creative ways to fight cuts, redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor, protecting jobs and services, refusing to implement the Tories’ agenda – and massively reducing the tax burden on those least able to afford it.

“It’ll certainly make the job of explaining what the Greens are all about much easier – and, coming hot on the heels of Caroline Lucas MP’s arrest in Balcombe – really serve to put paid to the damage caused to the Greens by clumsy political decisions that led to the bin strike and unite the party around a truly radical, socialist, policy.”

  1. pachallis Reply

    So does this mean the implementation of a local income tax system to replace rates?

    How would the council obtain earnings information? Who would be exempt? What about businesses? Would this apply to the total income of all people living in a house, or for just the highest earner?

    Would rates based on the value of a house be replaced?

    Why not go back to a scheme like poll tax where you get charged by the number of people in a house and the services used, rather than based upon the value of the house that you live in?

    Can the council implement such a scheme without approval from Westminster?

  2. Justin Reply

    What a silly policy which (as the post above makes clear) is completely impractical. So three people earning low wages in the same house will pay extra tax? I thought the Green Party was against taxing low earners?

    I voted green at both council and general elections last time. I’m not going to again. This experiment has failed.

  3. Rostrum Reply

    who will rid us of these turbulent fools.

  4. John Flood-Paddock Reply

    Silly question: doesn’t the “banding” of homes by rateable value mean that the better off are already paying more council tax ?
    I’m not voting Green again either.

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