Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 21, 2017

Council Tax Or Council Charge?

Last week WLBC paid for what will be an expensive advert in the local press  to tell us of the “charge” (increased selective council tax!) for garden waste collection. It’s a concept that will probably be the front runner to similar charges as more public cash is needed to pay for what won’t be reduced, things like free all day car parking for council staff, annual staff salary increases, councillor allowances  click to read, annual benefits in kind to senior officers, and a net pension liability of £53,283,000 in funding set aside.

Council tax is a system of local taxation collected by local authorities. It is a tax on domestic property. Some property is exempt from council tax. Some people do not have to pay council tax and some people get a discount. Council tax applies to all domestic properties, whether owned or rented. It is used to help pay for the local services such as refuse collection, policing, roads and schools. It is collected on behalf of the Borough Council, Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Police Authority, Lancashire Combined Fire Authority and some parish councils.

Properties which may be exempt include any property that only students or Foreign Language Assistants on the official British Council programme live in. This may be a hall of residence, or a house. If the property is occupied by both students and non-students the property is not exempt but any students in the house are disregarded.

Council tax buys a number of services besides waste bin collection. Council tax is hugely regressive, as those who contribute the most tend to use fewest services while paying a larger percentage of income tax that is also used to fund council services, although tax avoidance schemes are available to those who can use them.

Lancashire has made a 3.99 per cent tax increase and the crime commissioner has made a 1.99 per cent increase, meaning we pay more to receive less. The public highways are riddled with holes, state schools are over-subscribed, and some families pay for their childrens education. We seldom see the police and many of us won’t be eligible for social-care support. And don’t forget that massive generous pension scheme for council employees, but that is rarely mentioned by any elected members.

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