To make up some of the money the UK government has unexpectedly had to spend during the Covid-19 pandemic, from the job retention scheme to Eat Out To Help Out, people in England are going to have to pay up to 5% more council tax than they have done previously.
It comes as the government told local English councils that it expected them to raise an additional £1.9bn through council tax in 2021-2.
The announcement was met with disdain from many corners of the country and parliament, with Labour leader, Keir Starmer, calling on Downing Street to “fund English councils” so that they don’t have to take so much more tax from their local residents.
Scots Leading The Way
Setting out Scotland’s budget for the upcoming financial year, Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, explained that local councils will be given the cash equivalent of a 3% council tax increase if they promise to freeze council tax at its current level for taxpayers in 2021-2.
There is grave concern that the UK government is assuming that the money it has spent to fight Covid-19 can simply be regained by taking more from everyday people. The problem is, this comes at a time where everyday people have less disposable income than before – some people have lost jobs, some have reduced working hours, and so on.
The question has to be, if the Scottish government can find ways of protecting citizens from immediate and steep tax rises, why can’t Boris do the same for England?
Those who oppose such displays of generosity from the government will argue that offering another tax relief to regain funds lost by a previous tax relief is only going to create a vicious cycle of increasing national debt.