Saturday 1 February 2014

Powney floats Brent council tax rise to address poverty

Cllr James Powney, an ex-member of the Brent Executive has had little reaction to a blog he wrote last month on the possibility of raising Council Tax to set up a Poverty Fund to protect the poorest Brent residents.LINK

Last month the possibility of a  a referendum on raising Council Tax was aired by Cllr Muhammed Butt at the Willesden Connects Forum who said that there was a rigorous debate about the issue in the Labour group. However the debate was quickly snuffed out by a tweet from Butt which said that Brent Council had no plans to increase Council Tax in as they had to protect residents' living standards.

Council Tax is frozen for 2014-15 but perhaps James Powney's idea will be considered for 2015-16 if Labour are returned to power at the local election in May.

This is what Cllr Powney wrote:
My own view is that we have to have a Poverty Fund in the way other Councils are doing.  It looks like Crisis Payments are being abolished by the Tory Government.  I think it sensible to try to pool various grants in one scheme to protect the poorest.  While that could make use of the residue of the crisis payment scheme, it would need some ongoing funding

I envisage such a source of funding being a rise in Council Tax.  Granted some people regard this as automatically beyond the Pale, but Brent has not had a Council Tax rise since 2010.

Whereas the previous Liberal Democrat administration promised to freeze the Council tax and in fact raised it. I don't think that had anything to do with their election defeat.  They were just unpopular for more general reasons.

I think a lot of ordinary voters would be quite sympathetic to a fund targeted to people in real need.

1 comment:

claremounties said...

There are some rumblings about reducing the numbers of councillors in order to reduce the financial burden on the taxpayer. Perhaps Mr Powney would like to exercise his philanthropy ? His stipend would go some way to address the problem.