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Islington becomes latest London council to ask for voluntary tax

  • Labour leader wants ‘a fairer Islington for all’
  • Supplement used to support Fairer Islington Fund charity
  • In Westminster, only 2 per cent of those eligible sign up

Islington council is drawing up plans for a “voluntary council tax supplement” as it follows Westminster in asking wealthier residents to contribute more to local services.

“We’re committed to building a fairer Islington for all, and helping residents who do not have the same life chances as others,” said Richard Watts, Labour leader of Islington council.

“As part of this, we’re planning to introduce a voluntary council tax supplement for Islington residents who would like to pay an extra contribution towards important local services.

“Money raised from this voluntary council tax supplement would be used to support the Fairer Islington Fund, a charitable body, and will provide additional early intervention and prevention services to local people, alongside local partners.”

The council is expected to aim the tax at band H homes valued at £320,000 or above in 1991 and now worth millions.

Residents living in such properties currently pay £2,270 a year to Islington council, plus £588 to the Greater London Authority.

Fearing the political repercussions, successive governments have ruled out any recalculation of broad English council tax bands, despite the widening gap between the cheapest and most expensive households within them.

In February, Westminster council called on the borough’s 15,600 wealthiest households to pay an extra £833 a year in council tax voluntarily to help support the authorities work on homelessness.

But the Guardian disclosed last week that just 350 residents, 2 per cent of those eligible, had signed up to the extra payment.

Lindsay Judge, an analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Council tax bears little relationship to the value of properties and has in practice come to look a lot like the poll tax it was created to replace.”

“Rather than relying on the kindness of local residents in central London, we should be abolishing council tax and replacing it with a proper property tax right across the country.”

It is expected that other councils, such as Kensington and Chelsea, and Camden, could follow suit, after eight years of austerity and sustained cuts in grant funding from central government. Local authorities are entitled to hold on to any voluntary contributions they raise.

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