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Labour Holds Firm on Council Tax Bands Amid Election Promises, Declares No Rebanding Planned



Shadow minister states Labour has no plans to alter council tax bands

Despite earlier ambiguity from Labour officials regarding adjustments to council tax bands, which have been static since their inception in 1991 even amid substantial increases in property values in some regions, a shadow minister has clarified that there will be no changes to the bands.

Political correspondent @alixculbertson

Monday, June 17, 2024, 11:

Labour has announced that they will maintain the current council tax bands should they emerge victorious in the upcoming general election.

The political group has pledged to keep income tax, national insurance, and VAT rates unchanged, yet it has not made specific promises regarding adjustments to other types of taxes, such as those related to council tax bands.

During an interview on Sky News' "Breakfast with Kay Burley," Labour minister Jonathan Ashworth stated, "There will be no rise in income tax, national insurance, VAT, or corporation tax."

"We are not reevaluating council tax bands."

However, he did not explicitly dismiss the possibility of an increase in fuel or stamp duty.

He further stated, "We have made it clear that our policies are completely financed and will not necessitate any further hikes in taxes."

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Owners of second homes in Scotland will soon face paying twice the usual rate in council tax.

Under existing regulations, local governments wishing to increase council tax by 5% or more are required to conduct a referendum before proceeding.

Members of the Labour Party, such as shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, have advocated for an update to council tax valuations, pointing out that the existing rates are determined using property values from 1991.

According to the Land Registry, certain areas in London have experienced price increases exceeding 800% over the period, while in locations such as Hartlepool, the prices have only tripled.

In Wales, the Labour Party has committed to implementing new council tax categories and rates, though this has been delayed until 2028.

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Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer has hailed the Welsh Labour administration as a model for Labour's potential impact throughout Britain, expressing his intention to overhaul the funding system for local governments.

In a recent interview with Sky News, Sir Keir was questioned about the possibility of reassessing council tax in England. He responded by acknowledging that council tax is "too high for too many people" and expressed his reluctance to increase taxes.

In political news: Labour implores, 'Don't return matches to arsonists', as it reviews key commitments from all parties' manifestos.

Torsten Bell, the Labour representative for Swansea West and leader of the Resolution Foundation think tank, discussed the importance of reassessment in his book titled, "Great Britain? How To Get Our Future Back."

"He argued that it is necessary to bite the bullet and reassess property values in England and Scotland, noting that Wales has already completed this process," he stated.

"We should consider expanding the number of bands, enhancing the differences in charges between these bands, or shift towards a completely proportional property value tax system."

In response to Mr. Ashworth's remarks that Labour does not intend to modify council tax bands, Laura Trott, the Conservative chief secretary to the Treasury, commented, "Rachel Reeves hasn't definitively dismissed the idea of raising council tax. This morning, Jonathan Ashworth seemed to be improvising his responses. Labour is completely disorganized regarding tax policies." She added, "Labour has already implemented increased council tax bands and a comprehensive council tax reassessment in Wales."

"It's time for Keir Starmer to be transparent with the British people and acknowledge that under Labour, council tax in England would also increase." The £38.5 billion shortfall in their platform suggests that working families would face a tax bill of at least £2,094 under Labour.

"Wes Streeting acknowledged that their manifesto only represents the beginning, indicating that it doesn’t encompass all of their planned future expenditures."

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