UK Labour ‘using Wales to road test higher council tax bands’ claim Conservatives
The UK Labour party are using Wales to “road test” higher council tax bands, the Conservative party has claimed.
The Welsh Government is currently holding a consultation which is looking at creating different tax bands which they say will ensure that the poorest do not pay a disproportionate amount of tax.
But Greg Clark, the new Levelling Up Secretary, said that “Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is using Wales to road test plans to hike up taxes on people’s homes”.
“Hard-working people who have saved and improved their homes will face soaring tax bills – a tax on aspiration and pride in your house and neighbourhood,” he said.
“Family homes will face soaring local tax bills without any improvement in local services as Labour taxes the increases in house prices over recent years.”
Mr Clark told the Telegraph newspaper the plans “a stealth tax raid on middle England and middle Wales”, adding: “What they are planning in Wales today, they will do in England tomorrow, given the chance.”
He pointed to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), commissioned by the Welsh government, which suggested that extra bands could be placed on top of the existing council tax bands, meaning the highest-value homes paying four times as much as the average home.
The Conservatives said that such a change introduced in England would push the top council tax band to £7,864 a year.
‘Great deal of work to do’
The Welsh Government have said that their council tax plans, which are part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, would ensure a more progressive approach to supporting the local services.
Proposals include completing a revaluation of all 1.5 million properties in Wales to ensure valuations are up-to-date and people are paying the appropriate amount. This would enable different bands to be created with new tax rates chosen for each band, creating a fairer tax, they said.
Launching a consultation in July, Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said that the way council tax is currently charged has a disproportionate impact on less affluent people.
“These reforms will bring the council tax system up to date while making it fairer, meaning council tax is less of a worry for people with tighter household budgets,” she said.
“The reforms are not intended to raise more revenue from council taxpayers overall as, while some people could pay more, many others would pay less, and we will consider the need for transitional arrangements for any changes.
“We recognise this is a significant exercise and that we have a great deal of work to do before any changes can be introduced. These proposals are at an early stage so I encourage people to have their say through the consultation.”
The Welsh Government’s consultation ends on 4 October.
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