Surrey Conservative County Council are to hold a referendum on its plans to increase Council Tax by 15%.
The council is citing much needed funding for social care as the cause of this whopping tax hike.
There may be an element of passing the buck onto the local electorate but current law in the UK means any Council Tax increase in excess of the amount set by the Secretary State each year must pass a referendum.
This is a Tory policy and the allowed percentage is always low.
It means local people will face tough choices.
A 15% Council Tax hike is huge.
After a Tory government commitment to keep council tax rises low such a rise is massive.
But each year council tax rises have remained low services have suffered and been cut.
Add to this government mismanagement which has hit poorer areas more than traditional Tory supporting regions and there is little wonder so many councils are cash strapped.
The previous rates system, which linked what you paid to the value and standard of your house, was viewed by many as unfair but in particular by the Tory Party.
In 1989 the divisive and costly Poll Tax replaced the Rates.
Protests against the unpopular Poll Tax led to a watered down version called the community charge which then morphed into our current council tax system.
Each tax rebrand cost us all a great deal.
New computer systems, staff training packages, necessary paperwork and more were utilised, binned and binned again.
Thatcher and her ministers sold the poll tax to voters as a fair method of funding local public services.
It was not and neither is the council tax.
A re-look at Council Tax banding is long overdue but make no mistake when or if it is updated the poorest people in our society will be hit the worst.
The system is loaded in favour of the very wealthy; those people who can afford to pay more but never do.
Will Surrey get the go ahead for a 15% Council Tax increase? Will other councils follow suit? Will a 15% increase be enough or will they need another huge increase next year?
More importantly can cash strapped citizens afford to pay such increases?
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