Westonians paying ‘grossly unfair’ council tax
PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 June 2014
‘GROSSLY unfair’ disparities in Government funding mean the average Weston homeowner is paying more council tax than people living in expensive luxury homes in London’s affluent Notting Hill.
Startling figures show people living in a newly-refurbished, £2,500-a-month flat in the cosmopolitan area of the capital would pay £1,075 a year in council tax band D.
In contrast, an average Weston family home in the same band would be charged £1,460 in rates - 36 per cent more.
Similarly, a band B property in posh Kensington would cost £836 a year in tax, while a resident in an unfurnished two-bed, band B flat in Weston would be forced to stump up £1,130.
This discrepancy is due to the uneven levels of funding dished out by the Government - which council leaders say means a raw deal for the people of North Somerset.
London councils receive a disproportionate amount of grants from Westminster, so the authorities don’t have to raise as much in council tax.
This year, North Somerset Council received £342 per person from central Government’s cash pot, but London authorities got £811 for each resident.
A council spokesman said: “We agree this is grossly unfair and is something we have been lobbying the Government about for some time.
“Inner London authorities in general have a much lower council tax than any other area of the country.
“In our view this is directly related to the Government funding they receive.”
The union which represents public sector workers, Unison, has suggested the council tax system is fundamentally unfair.
Unison representative Helen Thorton said: “I think the main issue with council tax is that when it comes down to it it’s not a fair tax because it’s not based on people’s income.
“A local income tax would be much fairer.
“But also it should be noted that North Somerset has very low levels of council tax compared to other councils in the South West, as a result their income has not kept up with costs, and combined with a massive cut in funding from central government, this has led them to cut more services.”
The North Somerset spokesman added: “We are committed to keeping council tax as low as possible.
“Although North Somerset is one of the lowest-funded councils in the country in terms of Government grant per head of population, we continue to be one of the lowest taxing areas in the South West.”