Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Labour's Fiddled Council Tax Figures

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown appear to agree on at least one thing. Labour Councils cost you less. Yes, dear reader, you did read that right. But as usual, Blair has fiddled the figures by using creative accountancy. Labour councils tend to hgave lower property values and therefore have more houses in lower council tax bands - so Labour always quote 'average council tax per dwelling'. Professor Tony Travers, who is the country's leading local government expert says the only accurate way to compare councils is to contrast their Band D bills. And surprise, suprise. We find Conservative Councils next year will charge £81 less than Labour councils and £88 less than LibDem councils for Band D properties. But you won't have heard anything about that from Blair and Brown this morning, as journalists weren't allowed to ask questions. And guess which council has the highest Band D charge in the country? Sedgefield! No wonder he didn't want to take questions...

9 comments:

wasp said...

suspiciously similar to the daily bulletin today...

Iain Dale said...

I thought it deserved wider dissemination!

Man in a shed said...

This may be a trap. As the New Labour spin machine must have anticipated your common sense analysis. My guess is that they are hoping to get some BBC correspondent at 6pm pointing out how much more money flows to Labour areas from central government, making the average Labour have calculated possible ( the fact they are misleading and not a measure of the effectiveness of local councils will be lost ). This is the message they want out to their core vote ( its a local election after all - ie a race to get each party's core vote out ).

Bottom subliminal line = vote Labour and we'll rob pensioners in Surrey for you ....

Anonymous said...

Except that you argument is also open to manipulation in exactly the same way. As Conservative councils have more properties in higher bands then they need to raise band D council tax rates by less to raise additional funds above SSA level.

So the Labour argument is no more of a fiddle than your argument.

NB: If all councils spent at SSA level they'd all charge the same tax rates at all bands. Most councils spend above SSA level, a few below.

ian said...

But Banding is based on property values, which are different across the country. In the typical, for example, surrey tory council, there will be many more properties in the higher bands than there will be in, for example, a northern labour council.

So as the tory council will have more properties in the higher bands, they can make more money on average per property, and consequently lower the prices for comparative bands.

Antony Calvert said...

"So as the tory council will have more properties in the higher bands, they can make more money on average per property, and consequently lower the prices for comparative bands."

Yes but local councils exist to merely collect tax for the government who redistribute it back as they see fit.

For every pound of C/tax you pay approximately 75p goes straight to the government. Having an authority with 100% band F properties wouldn't make a much of a difference as to the grant settlement you receive back.

Hughes Views said...

"Professor Tony Travers, who is the country's leading local government expert" - excuse me, my sides seem to have spilt.

Anonymous said...

It's rather difficult to make a good comparison at all, really. Beginning with the thing that nobody disputes, Labour councils tend to be in inner cities with lots of cheap band A and B properties, whereas Conservative councils tend to be in leafy Surrey with lots of bands E and F.

Clearly, if councils raised all the money they needed locally and no other money, the owner of a band D house would be better of living in Surrey, where he'd have the cheapest house and so the smallest bill, rather than an inner city where his bill would be twice as much as the next man's.

Now consider that funds are sent to central government and redistributed to local authorities in a somewhat arcane manner, and it becomes less clear how much money an efficient council would need to raise. Further consider that the services required per household are not uniform across the country - inner cities tend to need more in the way of translators, outreach workers and the like, the needs of the police and fire services in a city and in a rural area are quite different, densely-populated cities have more people to share the cost of things such as streetlamps.

It's easy to come up with simplistic comparisons based on "average" or "band D" (and if I was a person looking to buy a band D house in one of a few local authorities, the band D comparison would be an interesting number for me) but to make a proper comparison is a difficult task.

Anonymous said...

make money working from home I have found a proven method anyone can implement to very easily earn an extra $500, $1,000 or even $5,000+ every single week, with only 15 minutes of your time, and create a significant ongoing monthly income. This method is a no-nonsense, set it and forget it system, which will virtually run on 100% autopilot. People just like you are earning enough money to quit their jobs within the first month. Stop worrying about the bills, cancel your daily commute, never leave your family for a job that is making someone else rich, and start living your life the way YOU choose! Affiliate Cash Vault! New fail-safe system virtually runs 100% on autopilot. Just set it and forget it! Otherwise you will need good debt consolidation