Councils - Stealth Taxes

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by nheather, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. nheather

    nheather
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    Council tax increases will soon be upon us. Councils have been asked by the government to freeze increases and told that if they do increase by 2% or more without referendum they will be penalised.

    So it is expected that a lot will increase by 1.99%.

    But my council (Horsham, West Sussex, Conservative) has found a loophole to introduce to effectively increase tax in addition to the 2% 'allowance'.

    This coming tax year residents will have to pay for Green Waste collection, previously covered by the Council Tax.

    The fee is £29 per year, which by itself represents a 1.4% increase in my council tax. For many people it will be considerably more than 1.4%.

    This will be in addition to any Council Tax increase they apply (probably 1.99%) but since they have broken it out as a fee, it means that they can effectively increase my Council Tax by 2.39% without incurring any penalty.

    The rationale they give is "We believe that it is fairer that only those residents that choose to participate in the scheme should pay for the service".

    Fine sentiment, but does this mean that they are providing a whole list of services that we can decline to contribute to - I don't use the imfamous 'park and ride", childless residents have no need of schools etc. - of course they aren't. The 'fairness' it seems only applies to this one service.

    Interested to hear whether other councils are getting creative.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  2. Dancook

    Dancook
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  3. Phil57

    Phil57
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    £42 per year here in Evesham, mind, I don't 'subscribe' as
    I dispose of my garden waste in a skip at work.:)
     
  4. blue max

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    Creative accounting gone mad - charge for something that was included. Nice work if you can get it!
     
  5. WeegyAVLover

    WeegyAVLover
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    Nigel,

    Am I understanding you correctly. The council are charging you to recycle (I assume that is what green waste is)?

    How is that fairer as far as I am aware you have no choice but to participate so cannot opt out?

    Or have I missed something? Tell yur cooncil I think they are tadgers! & I will send Mr Solidarity himself down to sort this tax thug out ;)
     
  6. Daddy k

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    So you pay to have to sort your recycled rubbish I to a dedicated bin I take it?

    It's ok ill save the money and the time and put it all in the one bin taa, hate all the bins I have to keep outside as it is, a bloody brown bin for garden waste that gets used a few times a year, a blue bin for cardboard and paper,for them to then sell on, and then a normal bin for everything else.
     
  7. Daddy k

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    I give it 10 years and councils will start charging council tax for pets.
     
  8. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    This had always been a fee for us. We compost or own garden waste, or take a trip to the dump if we've done something drastic.
     
  9. nheather

    nheather
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    Thanks for the replies.

    I didn't know that some councils already charge for this - so I could view myself as lucky that we haven't had to pay for it before.

    I think my concern is whether this is the thin-end of the wedge. It's green waste this year, what will charge extra for next year.

    It will also be interesting to see what sort of creativity they come up with to continue their green boast. The last few years they have boasted about the high level of recycling that they regularly achieve. Talking around there may be quite a shortfall in take-up for this new scheme so the council will have to start reporting drops in recycling levels - or spend all the money they have saved on a spindoctor.

    It wasn't so much the cost - it's quite reasonable (for this year anyway). It's the fact that it is a blatent way to sidestep the government instructions to freeze\minimise increases, and mostly that they tell us it is fairer because we only get to pay for the services that we use (yes - out of a list of one).

    Unfortuantely, if you did that, they would just leave the bin uncollected.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  10. Lee

    Lee
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    Nothing like that from our council yet but I suspect it won't be long coming.

    Would it be illegal take grass cuttings and tip them out at the park?
     
  11. jenam93

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    Where I am the Council is set for 3% cut in council tax!

    "Residents look likely to benefit from a fourth successive cut in council tax. The 3% decrease will be discussed by council this evening (Tuesday 19 February 2013)."

    Though if you follow their link for more information and scroll all the way to the bottom it eventually says:
    "Notes: Figures are for the council's element of the council tax. They do not include precepts for other organisations such as the police and fire authorities and parish councils."

    So it's not 3% of the whole bill, just 3% of a bit of the bill.

    Oh, and our green waste service is a pay if you want it service like many others.

    There are a raft of changes coming in too. Like Council Tax Benefit being replaced by Council Tax Support, discounts for second homes being stopped and the like.

    The one that caught my eye was this one:
    "Any properties that have been empty for over two years will attract a Council Tax premium charge of 50% on top of full Council Tax"

    That will be a toughie to ever prove!!
     
  12. Member 639844

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    How the hell can they justify this. Not only is an empty house not using any of the services at all, not a single one, but to charge more than normal as well, its just a disgrace.
     
  13. jenam93

    jenam93
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    How the hell can anyone justify having a house sit there empty for 2 years?

    (Not saying it is right to charge the extra, just making the point above!)
     
  14. Member 639844

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    If someone has acquired a second home for whatever reason, then good on them, what difference does it make. Suppose someone takes a job offer overseas but knows its only for a few years or so and then they have to return. Could be any number of reasons.

    The thing that annoys me is how the council can impose a bill on services that arent being used. Its like the BBC being able to enforce a licence fee even if you never watch the BBC . . . . . oh wait :rolleyes:
     
  15. jenam93

    jenam93
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    Fair enough, but why leave it empty? Rent it out, let friends/family stay in it for free, anything but leave it empty.

    Empty houses for 2 years serve no purpose at all.

    Oh, and this directive comes from the Government rather than local councils. Here's a paper on it.
     
  16. Phil57

    Phil57
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    Even an empty property 'uses' some services, Police, Fire Service.
    ......................and no I am not suggesting that 50% on top can be justified.
     
  17. Member 639844

    Member 639844
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    I have known people leave houses empty before. One did rent it out twice, but it got trashed both times an in the end they decided to not rent it. The house was owned outright and increased in value at a much quicker rate than the money would have in a savings account.
    Thats a pretty weak argument IMO. The couple empty houses I knew about didnt ever use either as the neighbours had contact numbers and family members occasionally checked them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2013
  18. Phil57

    Phil57
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    Have a look at this: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sidesho...burns-while-firefighters-watch-191241763.html
    So how would you suggest the sevices of the Police and or
    Fire services be paid for should the empty property be broken into or caught fire, pay the relevent service when used?
    So yes the empty properties did use the services.
    Using your logic, why should any of us pay local rates fot the two services?
    My house has never been burgled, nor had a fire, should I seek a refund?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  19. gus607

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    Our Loony Labour council introduced a Work Place Parking Levy at a cost of £253 pa rising next year to £350 pa. Just to park your car at work & not just in the city area either.

    This is we are told is to fund an extension to the tram system here, I have not yet met anyone who is in favour of this expensive madness.

    Also 1.99% council tax rise as well.
     
  20. Lee

    Lee
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    Had a paper from Birmingham council listing changes to rubbish collection and surprise, surprise, they want money off us.

    We currently use black and green bags. This is changing to bins for household waste over the next two years.

    Until then, from the 1st April, we have to buy our own bags. Charge no1.

    From 2014 there will be a charge to collect green waste. Charge no2.

    Bulk collections are free for three collections per year. From the 1st April it's only one free collection a year and for only 6 items. Charge no3.

    Freezing the council tax is just a load of ******** because they'll end up getting the money anyway.
     
  21. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Buy your own black bags? We've always had to do that here. We get orange recycling bags provided.
     
  22. nheather

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    In fairness, our council tax was not 'increased' but the council did make a big thing of crowing that they haven't increased it.

    In reality, my council tax increased by 1.4%. People in lower tax brackets saw a bigger percentage increase.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  23. Duncan G

    Duncan G
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    I bet it will be a poo tax based on the amount your pet produces each year. This will then be used by the Council to offset the environmental impact of poo produced by pets. :D
     
  24. Lee

    Lee
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    Green and black bags is something that has been free forever, normally two rolls of each a year.

    Won't miss where they throw them though. They chuck them from the pavement and have found them in a bush, under the car and, once, on the bonnet of the car
     
  25. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    oh and our council tax decreased by 0.5% or something too - had to read it several times.
     
  26. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    One element of 'cost cutting' we have is one the free orange recycling bags. To begin with they were what I would call 'adequate' - then some bright-spark realised they could save 0.0005p per bag by making them thinner - so now you have to put things like card (e.g. cereal boxes) in carefully, otherwise they will tear right through the bag and rip it from top to bottom :mad:
     
  27. liamt

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    ours is going up.

    i really am not sure what it all goes towards. the new chief of police wants a 2% increase.

    our local roads are crap, the paths too, i dont think they have been done for 10 years. they are shutting down the library.

    i have to wonder really what my £1300 a year goes towards. obviously schools, police etc. but it seems very expensive for what we actually get out of them.
     
  28. HouseTonyStark

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    wait, free bags???
     

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