Higher local taxes will hurt young couples, families and pensioners

Greenwich Conservatives endorse parts of Gordon Brown’s Pre-Budget Report which sets out the Government’s plans for taxes and public spending, welcoming the measures on trade justice, debt relief for the poorest nations and new measures for youth projects. Where the Government offers positive, constructive and reasonable policies, they will have our support.

However, we express concern at a number of ‘stealth’ increases in local taxes:

• Council taxes are forecast to rise by an average of over twice the rate of inflation.
• The £200 council tax rebate for pensioners this year will not be repeated – it was merely an election one-off.
• A new land tax threatens to push up the cost of new homes and undermine regeneration.
• Gordon Brown plans to increase the tax take from stamp duty, capital gains tax, business rates and inheritance tax by above the rate of inflation.

A strong economy needs competitive tax rates and good public infrastructure. Creating economic opportunity for all, means fairly sharing the fruits of economic growth between lower taxes and strengthened public services.

Yet the small print of Gordon Brown’s plans reveals an even greater burden of local property taxes on young couples, families and pensioners across Greenwich, making it harder for young families to get on to the housing ladder, and punishing those on fixed incomes who want security in retirement.

Greenwich deserves so much better, and the Government are failing not only in the challenge of delivering first-class public services, but are unfairly burdening today’s generations with higher taxes.