This week the government announced that councils in England will be able to raise council tax by 3 per cent in 2019/20. Many councils will have the option to add a further 2 per cent to pay for social care. As if this isn’t enough, police and crime commissioners can double their precept, an increase from £12 to £24 on average. The average council tax for a Band D property is currently £1,671 and will rise by up to £107 to £1,778 next year.
Council tax is set to rise by up to £107 for a Band D property in 2019/20.
As the TaxPayers’ Alliance has shown time and time again councils are far from efficient when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money. Commenting on the news our chief executive John O’Connell said: “Councils always claim they are cut to the bone, but our research shows there are still numerous examples of wasteful spending and inefficiencies.”
On policing: “We are witnessing a growing trend towards policing free speech on the internet and an obsession with stunts and political correctness. Taxpayers want their local police to focus their time and energy on tackling serious and violent crimes on the front line.”
I spoke to talkRadio presenter Dan Wootton about the issue which you can listen to here. We discussed whether the government could do more to fund policing centrally but while there is still a budget deficit this seems unlikely. I called on the government to cull redundant departments such as International Development and scrap HS2 to make more money available for essentials services if needed.
Do you agree that council tax is too high? Is your local council wasting your money? Please email me with your thoughts, in the meantime do read a selection of our research on wasteful spending by councils:
More bad news for taxpayers and commuters in London this week as it was announced that Crossrail is set for more delays and cost increases. Crossrail could require over £2billion in government bailouts to complete the project on top of the existing budget of £14.8billion. Part of the line was due to be operating by now but this has been pushed back to the autumn of 2019.
It is often the case that very large infrastructure projects will miss completion and budget targets, however a fair amount of blame must land at feet of London Mayor Sadiq Khan. From a financial perspective his mismanagement has left Londoners footing the bill. Transport for London (TfL) is facing a budget deficit of £1billion which is why it had to ask the government for a loan of £1.3billion. The deficit has largely come about due to a partial freeze in fares and the mayor’s nanny statism when it comes to advertising on the network, consequently ad revenues have fallen. The £1.3billion loan will have to be repaid by London’s businesses via the Business Rate Supplement and Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy. This is the last thing businesses need when they are already under huge financial pressures thanks to high business rates and burdensome regulations.
Do you agree? Do you think Crossrail 2 should be given the go-ahead in light of this news?
Tax Foundation visits TPA
This week we had the pleasure of a visit from Scott Hodge, president of Tax Foundation in Washington D.C. whose goal is to, “improve lives through tax policies that lead to greater economic growth and opportunity”. Scott gave our team a fantastic talk about the UK’s tax competitiveness which you can see slides from here. The research shows that the UK ranks 23rd out of the 35 countries sampled. However this does not take into account the proposed digital services tax announced at the last budget. Clearly there is more work to do to bring about a dynamic and competitive tax code.
Scott Hodge of Tax Foundation discussing tax policy with our team.
Since launching our new website in September, myself and the team make every effort to ensure regular new content. As such, with the help of local coordinators, volunteers and guest writers we publish opinion pieces to our Blog section of the website. If you haven’t done so already I highly recommend you read some of the articles. I have chosen a few of my favourites below:
In a week dominated by Brexit and turmoil in the Conservative party we still had an excellent week with media hits in The Daily Mail, The Sun and The Express on the council tax rises discussed above.
Another noteworthy story was that of the BBC and the number of repeats Auntie will be showing this Christmas. Across BBC One and BBC Two, 59 per cent of programming will be re-runs over the festive period. Kate Phillips BBC controller of entertainment commissioning claimed viewers love repeats at Christmas.
Our chief executive John O’Connell took a different view saying, “No one minds a re-run of a classic film or an episode of Only Fools and Horses, but when there is so little original content at this time of year, licence fee payers might be feeling a bit short changed over the festive period.”
Reviewing the papers
Looking ahead to next week our campaign manager Chloe Westley will be on Monday’s Sky News Sunrise programme from 6am to review the papers. On Tuesday our chief executive John O’Connell will also be analysing the papers on Julia Hartley-Brewers’ talkRadio show from 6am. Do tune in if you can.
Tune in to Sky News from 6am on Monday morning to watching Chloe Westley reviewing the papers
John O’Connell will be on talkRadio from 6am on Tuesday alongside Julia Hartley-Brewer