3 Oct 2011

How regressive is a council tax freeze?

“Daybreak’s” interview with George Osborne was an interesting one.

Adrian Chiles kicked off with a question about why George Osborne was freezing top level home-owners’ council tax rather than just freezing lower cost homes’ tax?

Mr Osborne said he wanted “a really simple scheme.” The questions then went on to whether Mr Osborne as a rich and privileged person really understood the pressure normal families’ budgets were under?

Did he know the price of a pint of milk (he did – though the presenter then suggested he’d been briefed)? He was shown a picture of Ed Miliband’s car being cleaned and asked if he had his cleaned too … by the way, Mr Chiles, said, this is a Ford Focus – Tories wouldn’t know what they were. Whiff of class warfare? Maybe he’d choked on his Corn Flakes looking at Bullingdon pictures in The Observer?

Council tax freeze is pretty regressive. Council tax in general is progressive for those on benefits but not really for others. It could make the “all in this together” charts that the Coalition instigated in the Budget Book to prove the progressive impact of government measures even tougher to keep moving in the right direction.

One joke David Cameron told the Conservative Convention yesterday morning and the West Midlands Tory associations last night: “The Lib Dems – they used to shoot each other’s dogs. Now they steal each other’s cats.” Don’t expect to hear it in the leader’s speech on Wednesday.

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