Council tax could triple for £2m homes

A new 'progressive council tax' has been mooted by Green Party-run Brighton Council. It could see local home owners with properties worth £2m-plus pay more than £9,000 a year for local services. In contrast, poorer households would pay less than they pay at the moment.

A good idea to combat austerity, as well as supplying a dose more fairness to those who can afford it?

Little change for most - claimed

"It's really refreshing," Brighton Council leader Jason Kitcat, quoted in the Telegraph, "to see party members coming up with ideas which seek to minimise the draconian cuts being handed down by this coalition Government, which have been adding further to the problems heaped on our city by Westminster. No other party in the city seems even interested in tackling austerity."

But critics, including the Labour party, have accused Brighton Council as summoning up a 'back door' mansion tax. Currently homeowners in band H - the highest council tax rate band - pay £3,014 a year. Under the new plans this amount could soar to £9,043.

Locally, the idea is tagged as a 'Robin Hood' tax. Local Green councillor Ben Duncan says households with joint incomes of up to £100,000 a year would likely see little change in their council tax bill.

'Robin Hood' tax

"The whole point of a local Robin Hood Tax," he writes, "would be to subsidise the poorest by increasing the tax paid by the truly wealthy. So, households with multiple adults should have a much higher threshold for paying more than at the moment – perhaps nearer £100K."

The Green idea though is unlikely to spread beyond Brighton Council (and those close to the idea readily acknowledge the proposal needs plenty of work). The Government has given a clear line, stating any authority which hikes council tax by more than 2% - higher than the rate of inflation - must hold a public vote.

This central government instruction was recently ignored by Rochdale Council, with the controlling Labour council agreeing a 3.5% hike overall for April 2014.

Where are Britain's highest tax bills?

Where are Britain's highest tax bills?