Sunday, August 10, 2008

Comment is Free: Vince Cable and local income tax

I have a piece on the Guardian's Comment is Free site about the rumours that Vince Cable is not too keen on replacing the Council Tax with a local income tax:

I was a newly elected Liberal Alliance councillor back in 1986 when the Thatcher government began consulting over the introduction of the poll tax.Conservative members didn't want it phased in over 10 years: they wanted it at once. You could see the pound signs in their eyes as they calculated how much they and their neighbours would save.

As a dutiful Liberal – it was party policy even then – I moved an amendment calling on my council to support a local income tax in its reply to the consultation. After it was voted down, one of the county ladies on the Tory benches came over and asked: "Do you realise why the rates are unpopular? It's because you can't hire a sharp accountant to get you out of them, the way you can with income tax."

She was right, and I have had a soft spot for property taxes ever since.

2 comments:

Steph Ashley said...

Do you know, even given that I work doing the accounts for a property developer so should be well aware of sharp practise like that, this view hadn't even occurred to me.

Good point, well made.

Neale said...

Anyone supporting LIT over LVT should watch "The great tax clawback scam" before believing that LIT is fair.

We've said "Tax Wealth Not Work", and we should apply that to local taxation too.

See http://fiscalreform.blogspot.com/2008/07/ricardos-law-great-tax-clawback-scam.html