Single Person Council Tax Discounts
At their meeting on 27 May Cheshire East Cabinet debated a proposal to remove council tax discounts on larger properties. The original idea came from the (then Conservative led) Local Government Association. However, the Conservatives on Cheshire East Council rejected the proposal, preferring to concentrate on reducing benefits.
There is a crisis in funding for local authorities and all discounts need to be re-examined to ensure that they are valid and are properly targeted on those who need support. The key issue in this case is whether people alone in larger properties should be supported by other taxpayers.
In many cases the council tax discount given on larger properties leads to working families in small properties paying to support the discounts given to wealthier individuals in larger properties. This is just one example of what the European Commission has called the “regressive” effect of our council tax system.
The potential income to the council if the proposals were to be adopted is estimated at £1.5M.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East said, “The Conservatives have shown that they want to make those receiving council services and benefits pay for the financial crisis caused by irresponsible bankers. It seems crazy to me that a millionaire living alone in a mansion receives a council tax discount. I would like to see the council tax system simplified by removing discounts unless they are well targeted and clearly justified. It is worth noting that low income, single parents in large houses would be protected from any removal of discounts by Council Tax Support.”
Councillor Ken Edwards, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Central, said, “With all areas of local government expenditure under threat, this is no time to be subsidising single wealthy individuals in large houses. This Tory/Coalition government has taxed poorer people, some of whom are disabled, who enjoyed a small amount of extra space in their social housing. It is up to local government where it can to ensure fairness in taxation. The single person blanket subsidy should go.”