Lyons now available

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    Key points from the front page of the website, I’m still getting the report down, and won’t be able to start reading it until lunch time.

    Short term recommendations include:

    * greater flexibility for local authorities to place-shape with less control from the centre by reducing specific and ring fenced grants, a new power to levy a supplementary business rate in consultation with business, and a new power to charge for domestic waste to help manage pressures on council tax, and an end to capping of council tax;

    – sounds good in theory, an end to capping might be interesting though.

    * changes to improve fairness of council tax, recognising that council tax benefit is a rebate, automating the system to ensure the £1.8billion in unclaimed benefit helps the poorest households, and raising the savings limit for pensioners to £50,000;

    – Ohhh, unfairness ehh? that automating of Council Tax Benefit is a nice idea, but how will it work? Oh yes, and all that age discrimination legislation that we;ve just brought in, lets ignore it, and thorw some more money at pensioners. If Tariff Income stays the same, a Pensioner who’s claiming with $49,501 would have a Tariff Income of £88 per week…

    * improving transparency in the funding system by being clear about the contribution made by national taxation, and ensuring a more independent voice to inform Parliament and the public; and

    – That would be a nice thing

    * improving incentives for local authorities to promote economic prosperity and growth, initially through reform of the Local Authority Business Growth Incentives Scheme.

    – Sounds reasonable

    –So thats the list of things that he thinks can happen…

    In the medium term the Government should:

    * revalue council tax to update the tax base and improve fairness;

    – I thought that we’d been through this once, oh, sorry, no, it was stopped for some reason, now they need to find a new excuse…

    * at the same time, reform council tax by adding new bands to reduce bills for those in the lowest value properties, paid for by increased bills for those in higher value properties paying more – there should be no increase in average council tax bills as a result of this;

    – No general increase? OK, as there wasn’t one in Wales was there…

    * consider assigning a fixed proportion of income tax to local government;

    – Way to go for those pensioners again 😉

    * find ways to improve the incentives within the grant system; and

    – Incentives, well, in front of every stick must be a juicy carrot, or at least a little orange thing that looks like a carrot…

    * consider introducing the power to levy a tourist tax if local government makes a strong case based on local public support – this would be appropriate only in some areas.

    – so how would this work? I really can’t think. I hope that the report says more…

    — And those are the ones that he thinks that can’t get through…

    — Sorry for the rant :S I’ll try to be more constrictive once I’ve read the wretched thing 😉


    I think these are the two key ones for CTB:

    In the short term, he says the burden on pensioners should be eased by raising their savings limit to £50,000.

    The review also calls for council tax benefit to be paid automatically as a rebate, so that £1.8bn in unclaimed benefit reaches the poorest.


    …and it comes out on the same day as the budget. Coincidence or magic?

    What price the Scottish gentleman making some reference to it today, esp the capital limit bit?

    Julian Hobson

    The scottish gentleman said nothing about it at all !!!!

    I for one feel a bit flat. All that expectation that we could see either a fundamental change to CT, CTB or both and what do we get !

    I’m sure the gov’t will respond to the recommendations shortly but they have clearly missed a trick by not making any referrence to it today at all (save for charges in respect of empty property for business rates).

    I’m sure there is good reason for it, and I wouldn’t want to specualate.


    The Lyons Report – a weighty document, which will be useful for flattening down that long grass it’s been kicked into.

    I went to the big conference on Lyons last week – to hear Ed Balls and Phil Woolas say that most of it is going nowhere. They effectively rubbished two additional bands and any notion of a revaluation for years if ever.


    Having read I gave up on reading the report.

    At least I hadn’t got it printed. 👿


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