Jeremy Corbyn ally Chris Williamson calls for council tax to be doubled on high-value homes

Posted On: 
10th January 2018

A close ally of Jeremy Corbyn has urged Labour local authorities to look at massive hikes in council tax to fight back against cuts to services.

Chris Williamson said a sharp rise in council tax for better-off homes could offset spending cuts
Credit: 
PA

Shadow minister Chris Williamson told the Huffington Post the idea was a "desperate measure" born out of frustration with "relentless" cuts to spending. 

Under his proposal, properties worth over £320,000 would see a 100% increase in their bills, but lower-valued houses would have their rate frozen.

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He also stressed there would have to be contingency measures for people with low incomes who live in expensive homes.

Mr Williamson said in areas such as his home city of Derby, it would be easier to sell on the doorstep because 85% of residents live in properties in bands A to C.

However it is not Labour policy and any council which wanted to go forward with such an increase would have to put the changes to a local referendum. 

Mr Williamson said: "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. I can understand the anxiety because it would no doubt attract a lot of adverse publicity.

“You can imagine the Daily Mail and Daily Express would go to town on a proposition like this."

However he acknowledged it would be difficult to convince better-off voters to back such a change.

“For those people in Bands D and above it’s a more difficult argument to sell because they would be the ones paying the biggest amount...You’d have to make the case but the thing about this is whoever went with it would have to sell it on the doorstep. People would have to vote for it and so to have that democratic endorsement means this is only possible by virtue of public support."