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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Go ahead for pensioner tax plan
Kent County Council logo
About 134,000 pensioners in Kent would benefit if the plan went ahead
A plan to peg council tax rises for pensioners in Kent to the rate of inflation has been given the go ahead by the government.

Kent County Council put forward the proposal which suggested other taxpayers pay slightly more so the rise for pensioners could be held at about 2.5%.

Now the council has been told by Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford that it has the power to implement the proposal under the new Local Government Act.

The move could see many other councils in England and Wales, which have seen protests from pensioners, adopting the idea.

The only fair way is to have a local income tax
Peter, UK

Jail threat

If adopted, the scheme would mean that 1.3% would be added to the bills of other council taxpayers to help pay for those over the age of 65.

This would see an increase for the 134,000 pensioner households in Kent in line with the state pension.

Council tax explained

Kent County Council said that so far it had received positive feedback from those who would have to pay more under the scheme.

The authority put forward the proposal because of the high council tax rises in the past couple of years.

This year high council tax rises - many over 20% - have led to protests by pensioners, with some elderly people refusing to pay.

In Devon 200 pensioners said they were willing to risk jail over not paying the increased tax.

BBC political correspondent John Andrew says other counties have been closely watching the outcome of the Kent proposal and could follow suit as a result of the government's decision.

The BBC's John Andrew
"What will this mean for the rest of Kent's taxpayers?"

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