Threat of new supplementary council tax on Greenwich

This week Alistair Craig, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Greenwich & Woolwich, reacted with concern at Government plans to introduce a supplementary council tax, on top of existing local bills. Under the proposals announced by John Prescott, new ‘neighbourhood improvement districts’ could charge local residents a hefty top-up on council tax bills.

The tax would be modelled on Government proposals for ‘business improvement districts’, where higher business rates can be charged on local firms in a specific area for up to five years. Yet in Greenwich, council tax bills have already risen by £319 – 39% – since 1997, equivalent to 4 times the rate of inflation.

Alistair said, “Across the country, council tax bills have gone through the roof since Labour came to power, with typical households in Greenwich now paying £319 a year more in council tax. The way to make our neighbourhoods better places to live isn’t even higher local taxes on hard-working families and pensioners. We need value for money and less waste.

“Can we really trust Mr Blair’s Government not to cut Whitehall funding if a supplementary council tax were introduced ? Many councils have already seen their central funding for neighbourhood wardens disappear after three years – leaving council tax bills to fund them. And we are seeing with planning fees how the extra money that Greenwich can raise in fees is to be offset by less government cash for council planning departments.

“Labour’s plans for ‘improvement districts’ have the words ‘stealth tax’ written all over them.”