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Shadow minister suggests Labour could scrap council tax under ‘radical’ new plans

Shadow minister suggests Labour could scrap council tax under ‘radical’ new plans

Liz Bates

2 min read

Labour’s Andrew Gwynne has suggested his party could scrap council tax and replace it with a “radical” new system for funding local government.

The Shadow Communities Secretary told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that the current system was “broken” and needed to be overhauled.

Mr Gwynne would not commit to reversing the cuts imposed on councils by the current Government and revealed that Labour was instead looking at new ways to funnel cash to local services.

He said: “I think we need to be more radical. I think we need to look afresh at how we fund local government going forward.

“That’s a piece of work that we are going to undertake because the problem about this… is that council tax is broken. It is not fit for purpose.”

Asked to give details on what Labour would do instead, he replied: “We are looking at what we need to do to fix how we finance local government going forward.   

“We have not made up our minds on what that would be. It might be that the council tax can be reformed.”   

The shadow minister added that under Labour a £2bn bank levy would be used to plug the funding shortfall in children’s services.

The revelation comes after former Labour frontbencher Chris Williamson called on Labour local authorities to consider council tax hikes to alleviate cuts to services.

The leftwinger - a long-time ally of Jeremy Corbyn - told HuffPost UK: "Unless the Government has a change of heart, this could be the only a way of arresting the cuts and generating some income to start to grow local services. Obviously it would be up to the local area.

“There is a lot of support for it. Regrettably no local authority has taken the plunge and implemented it yet.”

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