Anger as Blackpool residents taxed higher than Kensington and Chelsea

Residents in Blackpool are paying hundreds of pounds more in council tax than those living in wealthy parts of London – prompting calls for an overhaul of the way councils are funded.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:23 pm

Blackpool Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said it “cannot be right” that bills for an average band D property in the plush London borough of Kensington and Chelsea are hundreds of pounds lower than in Blackpool, one of the most deprived towns in the country.

Figures show a gap of nearly £700 in average final bills.

Band D charges in Blackpool, where average house prices are £130,000, for 2021/22 will be £1,997, while in Kensington and Chelsea, where average house prices are £2.2m, the band D bill will be £1,313 (house prices according to Right Move).

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Council tax bills are higher in Blackpool than Kensington and Chelsea
Council tax bills are higher in Blackpool than Kensington and Chelsea

Writing in response to criticism from Blackpool South MP Scott Benton of the council’s decision to increase this year’s council tax by the maximum 4.9 per cent, Coun Williams warned local government finance was “in crisis”.

She said the system was based on an unfair system put in place 30 years ago.

Coun Williams, leader of the Labour run council, says in her letter to Mr Benton which she has shared on social media, that council tax “remains a deeply unfair regressive form of taxation.”

She adds: “It is based on property values that are decades out of date and in desperate need of reform.

“The system penalises poorer communities in the north and benefits wealthier communities elsewhere in England.

“Blackpool has the lowest council tax in Lancashire, yet a band D property in Kensington and Chelsea has a council tax charge of £300 less than Blackpool. This cannot be right.

“The current system does not properly reflect need, real world demand pressures, council tax base or other income raising potential.

“For example Kensington and Chelsea received a net income of £37.3m in car parking income in 2019/20.”

Conservative MP Mr Benton had written to Coun Williams saying he was concerned the rise in council tax would lead to worse problems of poverty and deprivation on the town.

He said the Government had increased the basic revenue grant Blackpool received this year, “and has supported the council with unprecedented additional funding to help the various challenges that we have faced throughout this pandemic.”

But Coun Williams says the compound effect of 10 years of government cuts adds up to £1.2bn that has been “taken away from the people of Blackpool since 2010/11”.

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