Action to cut council tax for older people

Alistair Craig this week welcomed new proposals to ease the burden of council tax on older people in Greenwich. Under the plans, the next Conservative Government will introduce an automatic 50% discount on council tax bills for those aged 65 and over, up to a maximum of £500. A discount already exists for single person households and many disabled people.

Since 1997, council tax bills in Greenwich for a typical pensioner have risen by 39% – equivalent to 4 times the rate of inflation, with further rises expected this year and in any Labour third term.

The proposed tax cut will reduce the yearly council tax bills for up to 5043 single pensioners and 1541 pensioner couples aged 65 and over in Greenwich & Woolwich and 4742 single pensioners and 2190 pensioner couples aged 65 and over in Eltham by £420 and £500 respectively on Band D bills. The tax cut will not be means-tested and will be on top of existing discounts. It will be financed by extra government grant for the borough, so no group will be forced to pay higher taxes to finance the rebate.

Conservatives have also announced their intention to block Government plans for new higher council tax bands and a rigged council tax revaluation, which would mean soaring bills for many households in (Greenwich.  Local councils will also receive a fully funded deal from central government, backed up with fewer burdens, targets, inspection regimes and red tape to keep council tax bills down for everyone.

Alistair, the Conservative Candidate for Greenwich & Woolwich, said, “Today pensioners are not shown the respect they deserve. Remember the 75 pence increase in the basic state pension - that tells you all you need to know about Mr Blair’s values. Labour have forced nearly half of all pensioners onto means testing – it’s wrong, it’s humiliating, it’s complicated. Pensioners should not have to go cap in hand to the state for what they are due.

“The older generation who live on fixed incomes have been particularly hard hit hard by Mr Blair’s most punishing stealth tax – the council tax. This is why Conservatives are pledging to fund a council tax cut for older people across Greenwich, and block Labour’s plans for third term tax rises.

“And as for the Liberal Democrats, they would simply increase the pain on working families. Under their plans, a typical family would pay £630 a year more. I don’t think pensioners want to see their children and grand-children paying more. Pensioners simply want a fair deal, rather than robbing ‘Peter to pay Paul’.

“People will face a clear choice at the forthcoming election: Conservatives who will give pensioners dignity, security and respect by increasing the state pension and cutting their council tax - or Mr Blair, who will forget them and raise their council tax.”