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Rural areas are discriminated against
I know from speaking to people in my constituency and from the letters that I receive that the level of Council Tax is a major issue for so many people in our local area.
That is not to say that people are critical of the local Councils.
The public are well aware of the major deciding factor in the level of taxes set by councils.
This is the level of funding provided by central Government to each individual council.
This is where rural areas such as Suffolk are losing out to metropolitan urban areas.
The Government are currently carrying out a Balance of Funding review, which is looking into the whole policy area surrounding council tax and how it is determined.
The big issue that all politicians must face is how central government determine the funding for individual councils – and how rural areas lose out in the process.
The latest report to highlight the discrepancies between rural and urban areas was carried out on behalf of the rural lobby group Sparse (Sparsity Partnership for Authorities delivering Rural Services).
The report, entitled the Rural Council Tax Gap, concluded that the way the Government determine funding levels allows councils in urban areas to spend more per head, whilst at the same time setting lower council tax rates than their rural counterparts.
This is a shocking situation that is punishing those living in rural areas and must be addressed urgently by the Government. Those living in the country have to pay more for fewer services.
Rural people are losing out whilst those in cities are reaping the benefits.
Whitehall’s fiddled funding is the problem and this is the key issue which needs to be addressed.
It is clear from the views of those close to the Government that they intend to inflict heavy third term tax rises on local people. One suggestion put forward by the New Policy Institute, a Think tank extremely close to Number 10, would see council tax rising by a third.
This will come as a huge shock to all those Suffolk residents who have seen their property prices soar in recent years. Suffolk has been a major hotspot for property price rises in East Anglia and many homeowners will be dismayed at this latest proposed Council tax hike imposed by this Government. It will hammer ordinary hard working homeowners in Suffolk.
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