Rating system is in a right mess

Blimey! Labour standing up for non-union, low-paid self-employed and Lib Dems ‘signing-up’ to everyone paying towards the services they enjoy (1/1/16)?

Both demand ‘Clobber the rich - raise taxes!’. Indeed, Labour doubled the 10 per cent tax base-rate while the (coalition) Lib Dems ‘single-handedly’ raised the tax threshold.

Both left the already poor, poor but now paying more on purchases to fund others higher living wages!

And how come Labour taxed the ‘hard-working low-paid’ on ‘hard-earned’ income and savings while weekly millionaire Lottery winners got tax-free unearned wealth?

Who are the rich? Squander-bugs with 48” plasma TVs, or those in family homes, the market and rateable value (and inheritance tax) on which has rocketed beyond their control without reflecting their tangible wealth?

Low-profit businesses with capital equipment pay punitive business rates, yet high-profit internet-traders operate rate-free from their bedrooms!

Our rating system is a mess, but fairer options are opposed by those who would have to pay their fair share.

Say Rother/county ‘needs’ £60m p/a they and each of us – except the Lib Dems and Labour – can operate on a 10 per cent reduced budget without real hardship. There are about 75,000 adults in Rother in receipt of income/benefits/dependency – a per capita £800 ‘rates’ – but about 40,000 rated households – average £1,500 ‘rates’ (varying between £1,000-£3,000 for the self-same council services).

A minimum 20 per cent charge is thus £160, £200 or £300-£600 respectively, so which is the fairer, a per capita charge or a dysfunctional envy-tax on homes?

Despite predictable platitudes towards ‘fairness’, the Lib Dem/Lab pact (with their millionaire MPs/peers) insist per capita rates are unfair as they don’t penalise the ‘rich’; yet their councils charge £2/hr whether one parks a £500 banger or a £60,000 BMW.

Lib-Dems proposed a Local Sales Tax to replace rates with everyone contributing (or not) to local services, and then petulantly threw their toys out of their pram in a spat with their coalition partners!

If the ‘anti-Tory brigade’ spent as much time devising a workable, equitable, fairer rating system as they do blaming ‘rich Tories’, then we might get affordable rates and services.

Barry M Jones

Bixley Lane


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