Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Local taxation

It is the twentieth anniversary of the Local Government Finance Act which saw the introduction of the community charge ("poll tax") to the whole of the United Kingdom.

The poll tax has gone, repealed by a later Conservative government, to be replaced with the council tax, only slightly more fair.

What hasn't gone is the uniform non-domestic rate, under which central government takes taxes in from local businesses and doles it out to local authorities again according to a formula. Thus Neath Port Talbot does not gain from the operations of amazon.co.uk directly, but only from the increase in jobs, with the consequent indirect effect on council tax. Stall-holders in Neath Market complain about the increase in business rates.

Local government should be given more control over business rates, or at least more flexibility.
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