The Joy of Council Tax

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Margaret Thatcher pop art

Those of us old enough to remember the first few years of the 90s, in every part of the country have memories of seeing rioting, violence and protesting on the television. This was a time when tension between the population and the government over the community charge or "poll tax" as it was called reached a climax and people were simply not going to bullied into what they felt were unreasonable taxes.

Fast-forward about 20 years to nowadays and times are a little less revolutionary. We tend to just moan about poor bin collections between ourselves and let the students destroy Trafalgar Square over tuition fees instead.

Perhaps we've just accepted the fact that we're being treated unfairly by local government because they're not being as unfair as they used to be.

Let's Dig Beneath the Surface

Assuming you were asked to guess what the council tax rates are like in Westminster, a sizeable chunk of central London, you may well be inclined to begin your answer not with a number, but with a profanity.

But you would be surprised to hear that Westminster Council has the lowest council tax charges not only in London but the entire United Kingdom. It isn't a small accounting technicality either that shaved a few pounds off, the difference is many hundreds of pounds a year.

But How? I Hear You Ask.

According to thisismoney.co.uk, the rates are so low because of west end parking fees raising over £50 million and offsetting the loss of revenue. Combine this with stripping out the arts budget and the rates become possible. But is this fair? Many local councils don't have the luxuries of parking spaces accessible only to Russian oligarchs and lottery winners.

A Positive Spin

We didn’t build this country on moaning and sulking so for the sake of putting a positive spin on things, maybe other councils should learn something from Westminster and perhaps now is time we hold our councils accountable for finding alternative funding rather than milking the residents dry whenever a set of traffic lights fail or a pothole needs some attention. This is a time of austerity after all and it’s not only the working population that needs to become a little savvier with their incomes. For instance, perhaps when councils come to sell off their property in the future they could do so using an online estate agent like Sell My Home, thus saving local taxpayers more money.

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