Letter: Households that band together

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is becoming increasingly clear that large numbers of households will fall in the lowest band, Band A, of the property valuations list which will be used to determine the level of council tax households will have to pay.

In many parts of the north of England it seems that a majority of households will fall into this single band. So a majority of households in a particular council's area will pay the same basic council tax (subject to the single person's discount and any rebates). In other words, a major feature of the poll tax - the requirement for individuals to pay the same tax with little reference to ability to pay - will be carried forward into the council tax, and to a much greater extent than was originally envisaged.

In the original consultation exercise the Government was informed by councils such as Sheffield of the desirability of subdividing Band A properties, with at least one additional band. It cannot therefore plead ignorance in this matter.

It should not be too late to reconsider a subdivision of properties in Band A. Otherwise, I fear that the council tax may quickly become subject to the same unpopularity as the poll tax; and for the same reasons.

Yours faithfully,


Deputy Leader

Sheffield City Council


8 September