With the Budget looming, all evidence points towards Chancellor Rishi Sunak reaching for his council tax sticking plaster again.
Last year, he squeezed a whopping £1.9 billion extra from taxpayers through higher council tax bills, and it seems he’s planning similar inflation-busting increases yet again.
But working families are already facing a triple winter whammy of Universal Credit cuts, record energy bills, and a National Insurance hike of 1.25 per cent to pay for the Prime Minister’s social care plan.
“Council tax is now arguably the least progressive form of taxation – hitting the poorest families hardest”
Household incomes are reaching squeezing point, and forcing councils to hit them with another inflation-busting council tax rise could cause family finances to implode.
This would be bad enough in any other year. But just how will the Prime Minister explain to voters that he expects councils to raise extra funds for social care through council tax, when he is already putting up their National Insurance for the same purpose?
Either his plan is going to fix social care, in which case there is no need to hammer taxpayers twice, or it won’t – and clobbering them with a second tax rise for the same service is evidence that the plan is already a failure.
After years of huge rises, council tax is now arguably the least progressive form of taxation, hitting the poorest families hardest, while also rewarding the richest areas with the biggest gains.
It can’t be allowed to go on; the Government needs to find a way to fund councils fairly and to stop the council tax squeeze on working families.