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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 06:12 GMT
Council Tax unfair, poll suggests
Council tax form
Council tax is based on the value of properties in 1991
Most people think that the current system of Council Tax is unfair, a BBC poll suggests.

Of 840 adults interviewed across England, 59% said basing the tax on eight property price bands was unfair.

A similar percentage - 60% - said they were in favour of replacing the current tax with a local income tax.

The opinion poll was conducted by polling firm NOP about two weeks ahead of a report by Sir Michael Lyons on the future of taxation.

Property bands are currently based on the value of properties 16 years ago, and fail to take into account sharp increases in property prices or home improvements adding value.

It is clear no form of taxation will ever win a popularity contest
Phil Woolas, local government minister

Half said they would support a revaluation of their home while 44% were opposed.

The survey showed 41% of respondents thought that revaluation would mean their house moved to a higher band.

Two-thirds also supported the idea of adding extra bands at the top and bottom of the current scale, meaning the most expensive properties would pay more, and the cheapest, less.

Responding to the survey, local government minister Phil Woolas said: "It is clear no form of taxation will ever win a popularity contest but I welcome these findings as a contribution to the debate on council tax, which is not helped by almost daily scaremongering and peddling of myths.

"We take the view that it is the increase in the Council Tax rather than the tax itself which is controversial. That is why we have used our capping powers to protect the taxpayer.

"Virtually all developed countries have a property tax which is widely recognised as the right way of paying for a proportion of the services that local people use, and there is a strong economic case for retaining a local property tax."

Graph showing change in local-authority tax per dwelling over the past 20 years compared with the Retail Prices Index




SEE ALSO
Lib Dems consider 1m homes tax
03 Mar 07 |  UK Politics
The future of council tax
28 Feb 07 |  UK Politics

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