Londoners back switch to local income tax

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Indy Politics

More than 70 per cent of Londoners support the idea of council tax being replaced by some form of local income tax based on ability to pay, a poll will reveal today.

The Mori survey for the Greater London Authority (GLA) also shows that a large majority are willing to pay a higher council tax precept to fund more police officers on the beat. The poll, leaked to The Independent, has delighted Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, as it comes in the wake of his own proposals to put up bills to pay for extra community-based policing in the capital.

Nick Raynsford, the Local Government minister, is expected to unveil interim proposals in the next few months for a hybrid system of property tax and local income tax.

The Mori poll shows that 73 per cent of London residents would either support or tend to support the idea of having "some or all" of the tax based on their income.

Ministers are wary about change as any proposal carries risks, but the recent record rises in council tax have triggered the need for a radical approach. For many Londoners, the value of their home, and its associated council tax, bears little relation to their income, particularly if they are in rented property.

The poll found that 72 per cent backed the idea of an average rise of £1.90 a month in council tax precept as long as it went on more officers on the beat.

Just 18 per cent opposed the Mayor's proposal for six uniformed officers to "walk the beat" in every area of the city.