Council tax: how the rich get richer

City of London I was shocked to discover this week that the very middle-class and very leafy area of Putney in South West London has the lowest council tax in the country.


This maybe well known to you but when a friend informed me of their miniscule £500 a year council tax bill I was taken aback. My only question was: 'how is it so cheap?' to which they replied 'I supposed it's because loads of rich people live there and they don't need to fund lots of social benefits'.

I had a looked around and found that the cheapest council tax in the country is in fact Wandsworth council, which Putney falls under, closely followed by Westminster. A house worth £155,000 in Newark, Notts pays the same council tax as a £7.5 million pad in Westminster – both pay around £1300 a year.

These stats are a perfect example of 'the rich get richer, the poor get poorer' particularly now the government has decided local councils should make the decisions on who receives council tax discounts, and budgets have been slashed.

The richer the area the less the council needs to take to fund services and benefits, and the people living in those areas – who have to be well-off to live there and afford properties and rent – get to keep more of their money in their pocket.

But in a borough where there is a lot of pressure placed on councils to provide top ups and services to people who are struggling financially, the council tax goes up and people get to keep less cash in their pockets.

It seems like a topsy-turvy system to me that, now local authorities are cutting back council tax discounts (which I have noticed in my own borough) that more people who cannot afford it will have to pay higher council tax than someone who can afford it living in a better area.

I don't have a solution to this problem, if you do I would like to hear. Maybe the idea of a higher band of council tax for very expensive properties would work, meaning the system is at least a bit fairer but it would be a costly exercise to band properties to determine what they pay.

Failing that, maybe I should move to Wandsworth where I'm sure I'd be able to afford a lovely shoebox to live in, but the council tax would be nice and cheap!
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