Council Tax: The Case for Reform
This paper discusses the future of the Council Tax and how, if at all, it should be changed. As such, it aims to stimulate a long overdue debate surrounding the Government White Paper on local government finance published in summer 1998. The paper is one of two commissioned by the Public and Commercial Services Union, the other of which analysed the impact of moving water charges onto a Council Tax basis. In this context, it is worth noting that the potential use of Council Tax goes far beyond being just a means for raising part of local authority income, certainly to water charging and possibly to other utility pricing. But such extensions in the use of Council Tax, and indeed the possible expansion of its role in local authority finance, depend on it being fair and just. This paper demonstrates that this is currently not the case, but also that the government has the means to hand to make it the case.