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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 March 2008

A revolt against council tax?

No to cuts! Make the rich pay!

THE NON-STOP assault on working-class pockets is getting more vicious in Lincolnshire, where the Police Authority recently voted to increase its council tax precept by a whopping 78.9 per cent! If this is allowed to stand, Lincolnshire's council tax payers will see their bills rise by 9.9% on last year.

Marc Glasscoe, Socialist Party Lincoln

Lincolnshire Police claim to be facing a 7 million budget deficit. In January the City of Lincoln council received a negligible 1% increase in government grant for local services. This is set to be reduced to 0.5% in 2009/10 and 2010/11.

This will mean either cuts in local services or an increase in council tax to meet the shortfall. Local councillors have chosen to increase council tax by 4.5%, as close to the 5% maximum increase imposed by the government as they dare. But the astronomical increase pushed by the police has left Lincolnshire people up in arms.

The local paper recently said that council tax for a band D property has risen by 123% in the last ten years, 60% higher than if the tax had followed the same rate as inflation. The paper also claimed that wages had risen by 41% in the same period, but as they claimed the average wage is 367 then many local people would question this statistic!

What is not in question, though, is the anger of people who could see their annual council tax bill rise to more than 1,400. This is on top of massive rises in fuel costs, utility bills, food and other essentials.

Everybody wants to see quality local services. But while workers are being bled dry to pay for them, a recent TUC report shows that 25 billion is lost every year through tax evasion by big business and rich individuals. Why should we be forced to subsidise their affluent lifestyles? The tax burden on workers is becoming unbearable.

Many people are raising the question of a campaign of non-payment, or at the very least withholding the difference between the latest council tax rise and what we would be paying if it followed inflation. This is reminiscent of the campaign against the poll tax in the late 1980s and early 1990s which eventually toppled Thatcher.

This campaign was built at grass roots level in local communities, and the Socialist Party's predecessor, Militant was in the forefront of the campaign.

The cracks are significantly showing in the council tax system. People who would never consider themselves radical or militant now talk about campaigns of non-payment and civil disobedience.

People simply cannot afford to pay this tax and are beginning to look at how to oppose it. They need the services, but cannot afford the astronomical taxes being levied on workers to pay for them. At the same time they are forced to watch as the rich get ever richer.

The time has come for collective action against this unfair tax and for a concerted campaign for high quality, centrally funded public services.

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In The Socialist 26 March 2008:

Iraq: five year nightmare

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Save our hospitals!

Agenda for Change: Hospital workers' victory

A socialist alternative

Socialist Party workplace news

Teachers balloting for strike action

Northern Rock: Workers 'gutted' at the scale of job losses

Shelter workers angry at management

My bullying boss

Socialist Students

Our year of fighting back

Socialist Party news and analysis

A revolt against council tax?

Workers' flame burning brightly in Liverpool

International socialist news and analysis

Chinese regime suppresses Tibet uprising

Greece: Government pension attacks provoke general strike

Solidarity with Kashmir workers

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

World events and their repercussions


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