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January 10, 2007

Council tax made me ill

I think I’m coming down with something. The time of night I’m writing this might be relevant.

But I think I’m finding council tax interesting.

I have an exam next week and the only compulsory question on the paper is about local government financing. It’s hardly an episode of 24.

It ought to be a complete bastard of a question, but a chapter in a book called Local Government in the United Kingdom (by Wilson and Game) has got me interested. It’s very well-written for a start, but it’s great at revealing how important local government finance is. I don’t think I can – or should – explain here why that’s the case. You’ll just have to believe me that it is.

The government’s ballsed the whole thing up (surprise surprise). Apparently we’re using house valuations which are now 18 years out of date and counting. We’re the only country in the world which has just one type of local tax (a tax on property). And we have one of the smallest local government sectors in the Western world. All of these things are a bit daft. The government have admitted this, but aren’t doing much about it.

And for all these reasons and more, I’ve decided that – at least in this book – local government finance is interesting and important.

I’m definitely ill.

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