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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Council tax: Should pensioners pay less?
Kent County Council has been given the go ahead by the government to peg council tax rises for pensioners living in the area to the rate of inflation.

The proposal would mean other taxpayers paying slightly more so the rise for pensioners could be limited to about 2.5%.

Other councils in England and Wales are said to be interested in a similar move, especially in areas where pensioners have protested at increases in council tax over the rate of inflation.

What do you think of this proposal? Would you be willing to pay more council tax so that pensioners can pay less?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The comments published here represent the balance of views received:

How about making home owners responsible for council tax rather than tenants? This should help out a lot of people who are struggling to make ends meet. In particular, anyone who can afford to own a second home should be made to pay the full amount for both homes.
Sarah, UK

Forget arguing about Council Tax against other national taxes. It's the total tax burden that counts. And that's rocketing because this Government is wasting it at an unbelievable rate.

Councils and local authorities MUST stop wasting our money, then everyone would pay less. No, I do not think that pensioners should pay less.
Michelle, UK

No. They are the ones benefiting the most from Council tax funded projects! If they had paid into a private pension fund all of there life as opposed to 'living it up' then they wouldn't be complaining so much now, would they!
Colin Watts, Bournemouth, UK

This issue begins - not with pensioners - but with whether or not local authorities provide value for money or depend on the public and Westminster to fund waste and incompetence. Having worked for a number of councils over many years, there's a vast amount of slack and indifference there that pensioners shouldn't have to pay for, any more than the public should be expected to pay for. If only a government would take those public sector unions on.
David, UK

No. There are many wealthy pensioners. Quite a few are sitting in very expensive homes. The younger generation are already in debt - student debt, housing debt. How are young people to get a start in life? They are paying huge taxes, can't afford housing or even start a family. No wonder divorce is rising and the birth rate is falling. Raise the retirement age to 70 instead.
Steve Vogt, UK

Everyone should pay less council tax. The only reason for this discussion is Gordon Brown's underhand move to shift tax rises away from himself as he loses control of the economy and leaves the councils to pick up the pieces.
John R Smith, UK

The UK state pension is the lowest in the EU and should be index-linked again and immediately raised to 104/week. Trying to buy off pensioners as they are politically worthy of appeasement, will not pull the wool over any section of the public's eyes, least of all the canny pensioners themselves.
David, Oxfordshire, England.

Increasing my tax burden yet again will be the straw that breaks this taxpayers' back
Martin, England
I'd be quite tempted to move to an area with few pensioners if this happened, as well as disliking any old person who I'd start seeing as a benefit leaching freeloader. I already pay a fortune in tax for the government to squander on inefficient services I don't use. Increasing my tax burden yet again will be the straw that breaks this taxpayers' back.
Martin, England

If there are any pensioners living in Scotland they could all reduce their council tax by 30% by moving down here. Apparently not only is the Scots average about 1000 but they pay 300 for water and sewerage on top. I wonder why they don't protest - too cold perhaps?
Bob, UK

The UK taxes are a joke. Millions taxpayers' money is going in rebuilding Iraq. You won't see that on the UK news though! Stop arguing whether students or the old should get a tax break and sort out this government's wastage.
Anon, UK

Most people say no don't give pensioners rebates, and why not? They give rebates to the unemployed single mothers, and some who hardly pay anything, and what of the people who simply refuse to pay. I am a pensioner myself and my wife pay full council tax, why because my wife who has not retired yet, and because of a back injury cannot work, so they lump our money together and because it is just over the sustainable income we don't qualify. Lots of people milk the system, perhaps if more was done to stamp it out then we would all pay less tax. They are having a blitz on car tax evasion, because that is government money.
Gil Bolton, UK

There would not be a need for hefty discounts if our councils spent the money gained more wisely. The government should step in now and put a stop to these rises now.
Dave, UK

To increase Taxes or pass the buck is not a very good idea. Not without restructuring the council's recourses. For example reduce the number of councillors for starters they are surplus to requirements. New technology should mean less personnel are required in areas such as these. Everyone else in the country has to share in the good and bad of new technology why not the councillors.
Reg Heaton, England

No. I think not. Let's face it, everyone wants to pay less tax, but we can't always have what we want. I want the government/council whoever to pay my tuition fees - ha! Like that's going to happen!
Heidi, UK

Heidi, UK. I think you will find the majority of people here don't mind paying council tax. What you will find is that many people here know that councils are very wasteful when it comes to money, so we are actually paying far more than what we actually get in return. The council in the area where I live was recently found to be at the bottom of the table with regards to public spending of tax payers' revenue. However even though we already pay more council tax than anywhere in the country, we were still lumbered with one of the largest rises on top of this.
Andy B, UK

Ability to pay? I'll try that one at my local BMW dealer- can I have the same thing cheaper than the next man? Of course, they'll say & hand over the keys forthwith.
John, UK

We are all different - you can't have a blanket concession, it wouldn't be fair
Angela Grills, UK
Of course all pensioners should not pay less. If I, as a pensioner get a discount, I will give it to my daughter who is struggling with a mortgage, a student loan and her own council tax. She is in a far worse financial position than I am. I am still working at 62, my husband worked until 72. Some pensioners are very poor, some are well off. Some are still working to provide for a better life. We are all different - you can't have a blanket concession, it wouldn't be fair.
Angela Grills, UK

In 1992 my poll tax was 28 a month. In 2002 my council tax was 113. Have services improved that much? Has my income? What do you think. What has changed is my having to pay for: An MP, an MEP, indirectly because of the lop-sided Barnet formula, Scottish MP's as well. A local council, Mayor Ken and his hugely expensive circus, a growing army of "special advisors", Uncle Tom Cobley and all. If we made all these people get proper jobs we could all afford our taxes. And don't even start me on the pensions all these non-workers have voted themselves.
Malcolm, London, England

I would object to paying more to cover pensioners, and there is no way on this earth I will pay more to assist low paid or fixed income earners. The present system is unfair, a tax based on the size of your property would be more realistic. By that I mean the area covered by your property, not the so called value bands that presently operate. This way everybody in a typical dwelling would pay less than they are at present, and those with large houses and even bigger grounds would pay more. Overall this would balance out. The idea of a pensioner paying less is not justified if that pensioner is living in a mansion that would house six families, or has enough land to build several houses on. In a world where space is becoming a premium, this would be a more sensible way of obtaining council tax.
Keith, UK

Will this be means tested anyway? This idea is divisive, unfair, will create bad feelings and solves nothing. Basic Pensions should be raised and the threshold for paying income tax should be raised - the latter would help all those on low incomes and be much fairer. Gordon Brown already takes over 5 1/2 billion from pension funds, it is time some was given back. Council tax increases should be monitored and capped if necessary. There is FAR TOO MUCH WASTE AND PROFLIGATE SPENDING by councils. Rises should not exceed inflation. I am a pensioner but I don't want to be subsidised by my neighbours.
Sarah Harrison, England - North Yorkshire

As a pensioner with a modest employment pension I pay tax and the Council tax. I have no direct argument with paying tax but great disagreement with paying the unfair Council tax. The solution - replace the unfair Council tax with a more fair Local tax. The wild statements from some of your correspondence exemplify the emotive charge of the situation and the lack of clear thought prior to hitting the subject with fair comment.
Ivan NB, England

I have never understood why the government should pay elderly people a pension with one hand and then take some of it back in the form of taxes with the other. Money goes out of the treasury through one expensive process and is bought back to where it started with another. Not the best way for younger tax paying citizens' money to be spent in my opinion.
Simon, England

Council Tax as we know it should be done away with
Roger, England
Council Tax as we know it should be done away with. I recently got a 50p increase in my benefit which was immediately grabbed by the council as an increase in my council tax contribution. OK that's not my point the mindless administration to make me fill in a 10 page form that took the local council office 10 weeks to process and must of cost several hundreds of pounds to administer is my point. Local councils are inefficient and costly so do away with council tax give each council a central grant based on its population full stop then council officials can learn that if income isn't there you can't spend it and would cut down the council wage bills considerably getting rid of all those mindless paper pushers.
Roger, England

Who needs a local council anyway?? Why not just provide us all with tokens to purchase the services we require; bin emptying, educational places, local health etc. Allow a range of companies to provide these so we can each chose the most suitable one for us. The company then cashes them in with central government for a fixed amount of money. Scrap the local parasites that waste our money.
John R Smith, UK

Tax is about expenditure, not about being nasty or not to one group or another. The government's expenditure has been going up at an amazing rate since they came to power and we're eventually going to have to pay for it.
Steve, UK

Yes they should pay less. We should fund this reduction for our pensioners by immediately stopping all expenditure on asylum applicants & illegal immigrants. Charity begins, and ends, at home.
Roger, England

Let's have something simple like a local Income Tax. The everyone pays according to income whether or not they are pensioners.
Leonie Kerslake Phipps, England

To Mike Sterland, UK: So let me get this right. Those on a fixed income who are not pensioners should pay more Council Tax to subsidise your parents to allow them to live in a house that they can no longer afford! I don't think so! It is time that pensioners realised that they can't have everything. We all have to live within our means and if we can't afford to live the way that we would like to, we just have to make adjustments. If your parents want to continue living in their too expensive house, you subsidise them but don't expect society to do it for you.
Sue, UK

Good news at last! My parents (both in their 70s) live in a large house because they wish to stay in the same familiar location for the rest of their lives. Council tax is crippling them financially. This is a start in the right direction.
Mike Sterland, UK

Of course it's unfair. What about the thousands of people UNDER pension age on fixed or low incomes? They would be even worse off than they are now. ALL people on low or fixed incomes have had to endure a year upon year increase in the percentage of their income that is taken in Council Tax - many are paying a massive percentage (20% is not uncommon) of their income in Council Tax. This is a grossly unfair system and must be scrapped, and replaced by a system that takes account of people's ability to pay.
Penny, UK

The whole idea is just another cheap cop out without addressing the real issues
Chris Mellor, UK
The Government must be holding their sides and rolling on the ground in mirth. What a let off. No bad press with pensioners in court, no pensioners in prison, no cost to the Government. This Government continues to divide the country, north vs south, tax payer vs non tax payer and now young vs old. The whole idea is just another cheap cop out without addressing the real issues. Horrendous bureaucratic waste, individuals with no business acumen holding local and national political office. The issue should centre on abolishing a tax which is not based on ability to pay. The public should stand up and demand removal of bureaucratic wastage by showing their support of the Devon pensioners who are withholding payment of their CT.
Chris Mellor, UK

How about this for an idea? Peg all council tax to the rate of inflation. The amount of bureaucracy, waste and inflation-busting pay rises that are typical of most councils seem to be where the bulk of people's hard-earned taxes seem to be going.
Alex, UK

No I am not willing to pay more so that pensioners can pay less. Once again the government has messed up and we are the ones who are having to pay for their mistakes. I have just been able to afford my own house after not going to uni and living at home for four years saving. I'm now, as most people are in their first house, having to be careful with my money to ensure that all the bills are paid. Much of a rise in council tax will mean i have to move back home as the company i work for has frozen pay increases for a second year in a row. I'm paying income tax, council tax, NI etc in the hope of some kind of state pension when i retire but as I'm only 23 now by the time I should be claiming it there wont be much for my generation.
Helen W, UK

No I don't think they should pay less. They are already subsidised by everybody else who pays taxes and they also receive discounts on goods such as 10% off at certain DIY retailers, reduced meal prices in pubs, reduced admission prices etc. Pensioners who have not made adequate provision for their retirement have only themselves to blame for being "on the breadline" now, why should they get further subsidy for being in a position of their own making?.
Dave H, UK

It is fair enough saying that pensioners have a lower income and so should pay less in council tax but the whole picture needs to be considered. They already get a wide rang of concessions. I am a recent graduate and after the crippling debt of going through university after our subsidies were cut (grants) and we had to fork out extra money in terms of tuition fees. I now have entered an increasingly competitive work market where graduate jobs are half the number there were 5 years ago and pay approximately 4 grand less a year. Resulting in a massive debt and I have to pay full price for everything? Be it council tax, TV licence or cinema tickets! Is this really fair? My disposable income is probably less than the average pensioner and they are more than likely to have equity due to their houses which people my age haven't got a hope in hell of affording! I know the UK has an ageing population but should we really be putting increasing burdens on the young?
Adrian, UK

What about the ' ability to pay'??? This was the main downfall of the Poll Tax and this tax does nothing to alleviate the hardship and unfairness of the imposition of this tax and it's totally unjustified increases. This is not a pensioners issue but an injustice imposed by an arrogant government that is prepared to ride roughshod over genuine concerns of the ordinary citizen in pursuit of 'a place in history'.
Frank Hill, England

Pensioners should have to pay the same amount of council tax as everyone else in that community. They still use the local resources. Why should a single person who has a full time job pay more council tax. However it is about time that the government increased pensions to a sufficient level that make it possible for pensioners to live
Stu Bailey, UK

What happens when pensioners out number those working, which I believe is reported to happen in the next 20 years or so? As mentioned elsewhere I have no qualms with helping those in need but, all the systems aimed to offer help are too quick to help those who don't warrant it - especially outsiders - and need an overhaul We all pay enough taxws already !!
IanC, Midlands

Asking the question in this manner presupposes that the total amount taken is reasonable, and that people who refuse to pay more so that pensioners pay less are being callous. The fact is that local councils, in some cases through their own design, and in many cases due to central government regulations are now spending money on a range of expensive services of little obvious benefit to the ordinary taxpayer. We're all paying far too much in council tax, not just the pensioners!
Graham Innocent, UK

It's ridiculous to assume that pensioners are all on the poverty line. Mrs Thatcher is a pensioner. Do you think that it's right that she should get reduced council tax as well, on top of her bus pass and free TV licence?
Simon Watkins, Wales, UK

Pensioners should be getting sufficient to be able to pay their Council Tax
Huvan, UK
Pensioners should be getting sufficient to be able to pay their Council Tax. Once again the Government or the Treasury who in fact govern regardless of party avoid the main issue. On the South Coast and other popular areas for retirement over one third of the population is on a pension. How can this ill-thought out scheme work under such circumstances. The whole system of Local Taxes has to be reformed and done in a way where this game of blaming each other for funding problems ends.
Huvan, UK

My husband retired in June. When he was working, Council Tax was 2% of his income, now we are living on a pension, it is 10%. Is this fair? I don't think so, as our next door neighbours with 4 people working pay less than 1% of their total income in council tax.
Ann, UK

The answer is simple, cut out the numerous and expensive services that the Local Authority imposes on us. Instead of wasting the hard earned cash of the nation on unwanted advisors just cut the council tax so all of us can afford it.
Barry P, England

Your question seems to indicate all pensioners have the same income. Why should a former politician or ex company director with a few million (or more) in the bank not pay more, whether they are pensioners or not? If those greedy old people did so, perhaps the younger generation would work harder. It is the youngsters, the future who need the money - not non-productive pensioners. Our priorities are wrong, as usual. Have these oldies found out a way to take it with them when they go?
Tom Anderton, England

All councils should be forced to cut administration costs and reduce spending on non-essential projects
No, pensioners should not pay less. Council tax should be reduced for everyone, it is far too high. All councils should be forced to cut administration costs and reduce spending on non-essential projects. This is another example of age discrimination. Why should pensioners be forced to accept this patronising reduction? They should all receive a state basic pension that covers the cost of living, regardless of what other money they have saved during their hard working lives. If they are lucky enough to have other income then this will be taxed I'm sure by the sitting government of the day.

I find this proposal absolutely disgraceful. I am currently paying into all sorts of endowments for my own pension (there's going to be no state handouts when I retire!) and my children's further education (no grants either!). We are already paying a mortgage, full council tax, full everything - I am a diabetic and also pay all my own prescription charges. My parents, who are both retired, are better off than we are - at least they get a holiday abroad at least once a year. OUR last holiday abroad was our honeymoon, 13 years ago! How can this proposal possibly be fair?!
Chrissie, Scotland

I have no objection to subsidising the elderly in the UK. They are vulnerable and it is socially responsible for today's workers to help yesterday's workers. It's all the DSS scroungers and bogus asylum seekers sponging hundreds of millions of pounds a year from public services that I object to.
Richard White, London, UK

I only hope that Kent CC remembers that there are others who are also on fixed incomes/pensions who are not Senior Citizens! If this came in and I lived in Kent, I'd end up paying more, even though my pensioner parents live with me and I'm on a widow's pension! No, a local income tax based on ability to pay has got to the fairer answer for ALL people on low/fixed incomes.
Jenny, UK

I have a good job and I am earning about 40K a year. 20.65% of my salary goes to income tax another 7.65 to NI 2.75 to council tax 4.5 to petrol and 10% on VAT for the money I spend. That's a total of 45.5%. I haven't been to a GP for 6 years and I have no kids. Why should I pay even more. Do I get penalize for working hard for a better life? Is it better if I do not work hard and ask for benefits? Give the hard working people a break and stop wasting our money. What we pay is more than enough but is being wasted.
Theo, UK

They deserve all the help that we can give them
Mike Bilton, UK
Pensioners have very little means of supplementing their income, which is pitifully poor if they rely totally on the state pension. Old age pensioners are almost certainly not part of an occupational scheme and certainly will not have started a personal pension provision. They deserve all the help that we can give them.
Mike Bilton, UK

Pensioners should not pay less than everybody else but all Council Tax payers should be given more say in what the Authorities spend their money on. If services are not wanted by a majority of tax payers they should be withdrawn and staff reductions made at all levels. That is what would happen in the private sector.
Ken, UK

I am glad I don't live in Kent! I have a great deal of sympathy for pensioners caught in the grip of local council wastefulness and governmental ineptitude - but so are we all!
Paul, UK

This is blunt instrument thinking! Some pensioners are the wealthiest people in a community. Why should they pay less than a young married couple struggling to make ends meet with a new house and a young family? All taxes should at least attempt to charge according to ability to pay. Taxes based on income, on investments, on property values and spending, with tax-free allowances as in the national income tax, would be fairer to everyone and would perhaps encourage more commitment to the community. Kent's blunt instrument may be good political propaganda but it does nothing to share the community tax burden fairly.
John M, LyneMeads, UK

The whole system is unfair and always has been
Phil, UK
The whole system is unfair and always has been. Only house owners pay and its based on a valuation of your property that may not bare any resemblance to you ability to pay. The Poll tax nearly got it right by charging all adults not just some but it needs to be linked to salary so should be either a local income tax system or the national one should be adjusted and the money redistributed back to the council's. I live alone and only pay 25% less than a house across the road with four working adults in it - how can that be fair?
Phil, UK

To Phil in UK. It is not only homeowners who have to pay the council tax, council tenants have to pay as much as the owners, and sometimes even more. Get your facts right and maybe we can then have an intelligent debate.
Geoff, UK

To help others is always good thing. There are many people are seeking help. Our job here is to find out the most needy one. How can we find out the most needy one? Demographers found that the rich people survive more than the poor one. In other word, the pensioners are already enough richer than economically active population. So, my idea is not to support old people but to mobilize resources properly. So that all age, sex and economical layers would be benefited.
Krishna Acharya, UK

I thought some pensioners already got rebates on their council tax. My mother certainly does, as do my wife's parents. It seems to me that those pensioners who have low incomes already do pay less.
David Hazel, UK

I know that pensioners cause a fraction of the expense that younger families do and they far less of a drain on society. The only drain are the big families where children still seem to be born in bad areas just to get benefits for them.
Glyn, UK

To Glyn,UK: Pensioners are far less of a drain on resources? Where did you get this idea from? They bed-block in hospitals, use the GP more regularly, get a bus pass, and other discounted services. How exactly is this less of a drain? Council Tax should be based on income and/or ability to pay. Most of my money that I pay is wasted on an inefficient bureaucracy, Everyone should pay less, or not at all!
Stuart Mason, England

I've no objection to paying more to subsidise pensioners or other disadvantaged groups
John, England
If you think your Council Tax is too high, why not run for office as a Councillor and actually DO something about it, instead of whining about it in this forum? For what it's worth, I've no objection to paying more to subsidise pensioners or other disadvantaged groups.
John, England

Yes pensioners should pay less but not at the expense of the younger generation. I am in band D and find it a struggle to pay.
John, England

I am involved in the collection of Council Tax and this scheme is madness. The Local Councils who will have to collect the charge for Kent CC will have to absorb the extra costs of running this scheme. Plus most customers who are in arrears are not the pensioners but young families who will now have to pay more.
P Jobson, UK

I will always vote for plans to help the needy. BUT, as Arthur noted, state support should be based on need and not entitlement. Thus, as a country we should dump this old Labour view that the state is there to look after us. Each person should be made (by law if necessary) to work for as long as he/she is able or needs to, and to make plans to support him/herself in old age. Why must the state (i.e. the other taxpayers who are working) be made to pay for those who decide not to work, or retire early, or who have been reckless about planning for their old age?
Tony T, Surrey, UK

Pensioners living in the lower banded properties should get a reduction. But those living in family sized houses should not. The UK has a housing deficit and this would encourage hard up pensioners to downsize. More private housing should be made available to pensioners in low banded sizes.
Alastair, UK

If tax is to be means tested, let's have it for everyone
Laurence Saunders, UK
What exactly is the rationale behind this? Is it blatant electioneering, or an attempt to set local taxes on the basis of the ability to pay? If the latter, then why limit it to those over a particular age? Why not have ability -to- pay tests which apply to the whole population? i.e. a local income tax which would be a much fairer way than judging wealth by the house one lives in. I cannot see that this policy will not be challenged in the (European?) courts and overturned, as ageist (i.e. discriminating against younger taxpayers). This is another example of politicians playing vote catching games with our money. Perhaps if they had a few less paper pushers and target checkers, we all might pay substantially less. Where have all the huge increases over the last ten years gone? Certainly not on better services. I heartily object to these proposals. If tax is to be means tested, let's have it for everyone
Laurence Saunders, UK

Local councils are the most wasteful part of the entire government system. There is because there is no link between what they raise and what they spend, most of the money is from central government. I think we should make councils raise all of their money locally and cut income tax to compensate. Then we'd see which councils were the big wasters of our money. They could also decide who to charge and how much, so if they wanted to exempt pensioners from all/part of their tax they could do.
John R Smith, UK

Its age discrimination just because someone is 64 they pay full whack then they get to 65 and get everything reduced, why cant everyone get everything reduced we are the highest taxed country as it is.
Ed, UK

Where I live, there are a lot of rich pensioners who have a lot more money than my growing family. It's unfair to ask us to subsidise them.
Chris, Oxfordshire, UK

They have worked all their lives and I think society owe them a duty
Chux, Leeds
I can't believe I am suppose to answer this question...they should not even pay council tax. They have worked all their lives and I think society owe them a duty, to let them live a quiet life.
Chux, Leeds

No. We are all paying too much. Gordon Brown has made sure the blame for this state of affairs gets laid at local councils rather than at his door.
John, UK

The problem comes about when you live in an expensive house but are on a fixed (low) income. This means that large increases in tax are not covered by large increases in income (as would be the case for income tax: you only pay on what you get). Pensioners fall into this trap, but so do other people: those living on disability (for example). Who would ever think that you could own your house outright, but not afford to live in it?
Ken Tindell, UK

With all due respect to our senior members, I believe that not just those in receipt of a pension should pay much less Council Tax, but also those who through illness are unable to work and in receipt of S.S.P. only. My employer does not pay "top up" sick benefit, thus my "wage" of 69 p.w has to cover all my bills and prescription charges etc. with no reduction or benefit allowance. Perhaps its time to look at these issues when you're talking about poverty, as I can't afford to be sick, much less worry about greedy people in my Town Hall!
Jill Woodcock, GB

I think it is very considerate of Kent C.C.
I for one would pay more to facilitate that action!
Tony Wood, Canada

It would be unfair to assume that every pensioner is hard up
Rich, England
There should be a degree of means testing in this equation. It would be unfair to assume that every pensioner is hard up. We should however take a look at other cultures when we consider how we treat our pensioners in the UK. All we see under Blair's government is new creative ways for them to tax us or to make money, whether it be congestion charging, parking fines, speed cameras etc etc etc. If this money was managed properly and ended up in the right places we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place. Our country will end up like a theme park but most will not be able to afford the rides. I guess it's quicker for them to pick up their death duties by leaving old people cold and hungry. Sadly we live in a society where more people are worried about foxes than the well being of their parents and grand parents. Shame on us. Looking forward to a new Govt.
Rich, England

People who are on a low income at the moment only pay a percentage of their Council tax. So no pensioners shouldn't pay less Council Tax then anyone else in the same financial situation.
Steve G, Newcastle - Tyne & Wear

Today's council taxes are already excessive, as are the rates at which they rise. How can a council tax rise above the rate of inflation be justified?
Samuel Parlett, UK

Before causing resentment by slashing the rate for some and not others, why not reconsider what the councils do? Their services should be stripped to the core basics, provided perfectly, and stripped off all frills - "euro" departments, separate ethnic divisions, etc., etc., the proliferation of unnecessaries mushrooms expensively while the basics wither away to all our detriment.
CCC, England

If you're on a low pension it's a good idea. If you're on a high pension it's a bad idea.
Piers, England

I am a pensioner but I would not expect younger people to pay extra on my behalf
Brian Furneaux, UK
I am a pensioner but I would not expect younger people to pay extra on my behalf. If government is supposed to be putting millions of pounds into education, into the NHS and into policing, why should the council tax (pole tax) expenditure have to go up? Councils should be made to spend the money they have been given by government, more wisely.
Brian Furneaux, UK

Of course they should have to pay the same as everyone else. After all, the asylum seekers who are pouring into the country are "culturally enriching" them just as much as the next person. Just because they may have worked all of their lives does not for a minute mean that they should receive special treatment and be denied the opportunity to extend the hand of welcome to our newcomers through their tax payments. To do so would be discriminatory and we surely do not want that! Do we?
Andy, Brit in Canada

I only live in a "Band A" property, yet my council tax bill is 11.4% of my total income. I think the system is most unfair and desperately needs a rethink. A local income tax would be fairer but I am opposed to a tax on income and would prefer a system where the only tax is on spending. I agree with Caron, that you should pay for only the services you use. For example, I don't have any Children, yet the largest proportion of my council tax goes towards educating other people's children, many of whom also get family credit! Where's the fairness in that?
Lynn, England

I have a better idea - why don't the government peg all Council tax increases to the rate of inflation and encourage local authorities to spend the money more sensibly instead of frittering it away.
Colin Kaye, UK

There are thousands of extremely wealthy pensioners who would benefit from this
Vince, Brighton, England
There are thousands of extremely wealthy pensioners who would benefit from this. Yet there are millions of families with a single wage earner who have difficulty making ends meet and still have to pay council tax. This is a very unfair tax and should be abolished, and added to the central government income tax. There is no need for two taxation collection systems. The funding for local government should be distributed on an agreed formula. Around 90% of local government is funded this way already, anyway.
Vince, Brighton, England

I never minded paying a little more from my wages to help the pensioners, I've always looked at it as money in the bank for when I grew old. I believe spending all those billion of pounds fighting foreign wars could have been spent much better here at home on the NHS and lots of care homes.
George Burrell, UK

I would like to know how much of the money we pay in council taxes goes to pay pensions for people who have retired at 55, police, school teachers etc. How long is the state pension going to be asked to subsidise this extravagance?
John Kirk-Pickering, Suffolk, England

As a pensioner I think the only way to solve this problem is to give everyone the same rate of pension as an member of parliament and let them all pay tax on their income possibly to the large formations of flying pigs that the Blair government seem to have introduced
Les, UK

I do not understand why age should be a factor in determining that a person should get benefits
Arthur, UK
I am almost at the age to obtain 'old age benefits'. However, I do not understand why age should be a factor in determining that a person should get benefits, e.g. free bus travel etc. All these things should be on a basis of need, not entitlement, and certainly not because of how old you are.
Arthur, UK

The inflation busting council tax rises all come down to the incompetence of the council, and ultimately the government. However means testing pensioners would be a good place to start, to determine who pays what.
John Davis, UK

Because of the cost of houses young people can't afford to pay into a pension, whereas a lot of these people have a pension. When I eventually finish working there will be no pension for me as I have no pension for me. In order to make ends meet I have to live in Finland. I am a minority persecuted by the government. I am self employed and I have been hounded out of the UK or told to go permanent. I have no chance to do that where I live as there are no jobs for my skill set in the area.

This government is just trying to shut up pensioners who have complained loudest about council tax rises. The recent council tax rises are the fault of the government this is a blatant attempt to divide and rule opposition to the rises. At least when these pensioners were at work they got to live in their own home with there family. Think about us struggling to keep a roof over our family's heads and having to work abroad to do it.
Sean Platnauer, UK and Finland

Any discount should come from Central Government and not local
Paul, UK
If the Government sorted out the pension in the first place then we would not be having this debate. Any discount should come from Central Government and not local. Look at the way the last council tax rises went, I had to pay an 18 percent increase and probably same again next year all down to the way Central Government has mismanaged everything. Give pensioners a discount yes but not at my direct expense.
Paul, UK

Why don't councils allow elderly home owners to defer the council tax payment by merely taking out a caveat over the property so that the council tax plus interest is paid from the estate after the owner has died. There are a lot of paper rich but income poor pensioners out there.
Richard Blackman, AUS

I live in Kent and think it's diabolical that we should have to subsidise pensioners. We have had no consultation on the matter so just like everything else, it foisted upon us! The money I earn goes nowhere as it is, most of the pensioners I know either get help already or are wealthy in their own right. Another bloody shambles by politicians and councillors who don't live in the real world and are only out to feather their own nests. I am disgusted!
Les, UK

All taxes/levies should be based upon the ability to pay. Most pensioners receive low incomes therefore their ability to pay is reduces. Most council tax payers would rather their councils were more fiscally prudent anyway!
Graham Hunter, England

If the state pension was adequate, there would be no need for such schemes as this
Malcolm J Last, Suffolk, England
I believe that every council tax payer is paying more for less year on year, most wage earners are getting nothing like the increase in council tax for their annual review. As a pensioner, I have to agree with any suggestion that would lessen the burden of taxation, however I believe that if the state pension was adequate, there would be no need for such schemes as this.
Malcolm J Last, Suffolk, England

I'm working in the USA trying to keep afloat whilst my wife and children are back in the UK. I tried to find a job back home to pay the bills but it has become too expensive to get by back home. I feel for the old but to earn enough money to keep my family I'm having to work away from home. I feel the UK has gone mad and its becoming impossible to find a job that will cover the bills. To add to this with more increases with so many people out of work?
Chris, UK/USA

We should all have out council tax pegged to the rate of inflation. Normal people have to manage their finances based on relatively small increases in earning each year, so why can't the councils. If they wish to increase spending in one area they have to reduce it in another, just like I have to.
Tim Pile, UK

We don't see why we should automatically get a discount while others end up being forced to pay more
Mick, Herts
My wife and I are on a pension and although we don't have as much as we would like (who does?) we don't see why we should automatically get a discount while others end up being forced to pay more. We are already having to help our daughter and her husband meet their bills which keep rising above inflation while salaries keep increasing below inflation. How young couples are expected to start a family if they are having to subsidise people like us I don't know.
Mick, Herts

Why can't the pension just be made large enough so that pensioners can afford to live without humiliating means tested handouts?
Brian W, UK

Having had a three year pay freeze, been made redundant twice, had a contract job finish, etc, I have gradually had all my savings eroded away and am on less money now than ten years ago. I resent having to pay more to help other people as I find it hard enough to pay these bills myself. However, I feel for the pensioners and think they should have better pensions so that this issue is solved the correct way.
Dave, London

Presumably the few people the Kent councillors asked were pensioners
Stephen Firth, Kent, UK
I totally disagree with this proposal. Why should my family suffer as we pay extra so pensioners can have a lower tax rise? Why should my children be denied things because we have to pay extra tax? Presumably the few people the Kent councillors asked were pensioners. Or am I just too cynical?
Stephen Firth, Kent, UK

Council tax should be free to all pensioners and the state pension adjusted accordingly at a flat rate
James Frenz, UK

Yes pensioners should pay less but other council taxpayers should not have to subsidise it. It is another form of indirect taxation on property owners, some are no better off than pensioners. Let everyone pay for a senior citizens' pension rise out of general taxation.
T J Newman, UK

So much of my earnings is taken by the government
Lee Richards, Staffs, UK
It is a mad idea to do this. How on earth can the government expect the young to survive with so many overheads hanging above our heads? I have no loans and no debt, but still so much of my earnings is taken by the government. When will it end? I'm starting to feel like I'm working to pay for every one else who isn't working.
Lee Richards, Staffs, UK

This does not tackle the issue of rising council taxes, instead it silences the only group who has dared to complain about it. Whilst I am happy that the government is allowing the pensioners to have some help without means testing it, I do feel that the whole issue of council tax should be addressed. Why should the amount you pay be based on the price of your house and not the services you use?
Caron, England

The issue is NOT that pensioners should pay less, we should all pay less. There is absolutely no justification for increases in council tax above inflation! We are getting nothing more for our money - so why should we pay these increases?
Chris, UK

I would certainly support limiting rises to the rate of inflation for pensioners. Though the rate of inflation should really be the base for all council tax rises, otherwise the proportion of our income taken up by council tax will increase. This can be a real problem for anyone on a low wage. For some pensioners this would be a nice little extra, some wouldn't notice the difference and for others it would be a lifeline.
Jen, UK

My income is being seriously eroded by this scandal
Ray, UK
My council tax this year went up 15.5% (last year 13.7%). My pension went up by 1.7% in line with inflation. I have no opportunity of asking for a rise from my employer nor working overtime. If I try for a job ageism stops me. My income is being seriously eroded by this scandal and unless the government addresses this problem it will find pensioners generating the same sort of opposition which brought the poll tax down.
Ray, UK

No! Reduced payments should be based on ability to pay. Why do we assume old equals poor and young equals well off? I know many average income families with kids and mortgages who are having to save for their own retirement. They're much worse off than those pensioners whose houses are paid off and whose kids have left home.
Joanne, England

Council tax payments should be linked to income, age should not be a factor. I don't earn a lot - why should I subsidise the elderly irrespective of their financial status?
Chris, Scotland

YES, I would be willing to pay more council tax so that pensioners pay less.
David Adams, UK

How about giving a break to us youngsters?
Catherine, UK
Let me get this straight. Pensions handed out, free travel, no income tax, no mortgage any more, and now cheaper council tax. How about giving a break to us youngsters trying to keep our head above water instead of putting an even greater burden on us?
Catherine, UK

I live in an area where many pensioners are well off and live in very large houses. I agree that poorer pensioners should be helped but not all. Don't really poor pensioners receive council tax benefit?
Simon Skinner, UK

Yes, I would most certainly pay extra council tax to help local pensioners but feel that the money should come from second homeowners.
Karen L Willows, Kernow

Yes and no! Why should a wealthy pensioner have a rebate to the detriment of a family with young children, who are struggling to make ends meet? The only fair way is to have a local income tax with people pay according to their means.
Peter, UK

A good idea in theory. However you must remember that many of us working have not had a pay rise to match inflation - at least pensioners are getting that. I'm afraid that the figures just won't work out. In any case, if a protest is all it takes to avoid tax hikes, maybe we should all join in.
Stuart, Tilbury, Essex, UK

Why single out pensioners? I know that some pensioners have a higher income than their children, who would pay more council tax. I think we should take this to its logical conclusion and discuss implementing a local income tax.
Angus Nicolson, Scotland


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