Over the last four years Eastleigh sets the lowest Council Tax
Tonight Eastleigh Borough Council has agreed a budget that will limit Council Tax increases for its services to just 2.8% keeping its below-inflation promise to residents. Since 2004, the Council has maintained a policy that will, until at least 2009, keep any Council Tax increase to 1% below the December figure for retail price increases excluding mortgage interest payments.
Despite this low increase at Eastleigh we have still managed to increase spending in priority areas and more than fulfil all the demands that are made of us as a council.
Commenting on the council tax rise in his budget speech Eastleigh Council Leader Keith House said :-
"The Government's Review of Local Government Finance has now been extended into wider issues around the future of local government. But whatever the future holds, all the signs are that Council Tax, even if a little modified, is set to remain. An unfair and regressive tax, it will still be hitting hardest those on lower and fixed incomes. It remains a disgrace."
"Our MP Chris Huhne has demonstrated that the poorest ten percent of taxpayers pay a higher percentage of their incomes in tax than the wealthiest ten percent. And the "Is it Fair" campaign have described pensioner households paying one quarter of their disposable income to their local councils. Is it fair? No it is not."
"That is why we have rejected the easy and often cosy way in local government of saying we'll raise tax by inflation and then a bit more. Our strategy remains to take some of the pain out of Council Tax by setting our tax at 1% below inflation. So Eastleigh has had the lowest level of tax increases in Hampshire and probably anywhere in the country over the last four years"
And Keith House is right Council Tax however you dress it up is a regressive tax which is not based on the ability of people to pay it and the only real alternative is to link the tax people pay to their ability to pay it. The only system around that does this is a Local Income Tax, which would have the added advantage that as it would be collected by the Inland Revenue along side the National Income Tax it would cost the tax payer hundreds of millions of pounds less to collect.