Families in Essex's poorest area hit with 'disproportionate' council tax burden

"People in Jaywick are paying at least three times more as a proportion of their property value in council tax compared to the most wealthy area of Hutton Mount in Brentwood."

Families in Essex's poorest area hit with 'disproportionate' council tax burden

An excellent piece, written by Piers Meyler and published in Essex Live, highlights the significant Council Tax disparities faced by families in Jaywick, Essex, the region with the highest level of deprivation. Recent findings shed light on the disproportionate burden, revealing that residents in Jaywick pay at least three times more as a proportion of their property value in Council Tax compared to wealthier areas such as Hutton Mount in Brentwood. This stark contrast has reignited calls for a reform of the current system, with the author advocating for a fairer approach through Fairer Share’s Proportional Property Tax.

Click here to read the full article.

Andrew Dixon | From Inequality to Inclusivity: Property Tax Reform and Labour's Vision for the UK

From Inequality to Inclusivity: Property Tax Reform and Labour's Vision for the UK

Andrew Dixon, Founder & Chairman of Fairer Share

The debate surrounding tax policy in the UK has intensified, with Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor of the Labour Party, ruling out wealth taxes. This stance has faced criticism in several articles from reputable sources such as New Statesman, The Guardian, and The Financial Times. Rachel Reeves' decision to reject wealth taxes and other tax increases is part of Labour's strategy to demonstrate economic competence and appeal to the corporate sector. However, critics argue that this approach misses opportunities to address wealth inequality and promote economic growth.

Harry Lambert, writing in the New Statesman, criticizes Labour's refusal to adopt tax reforms that shift the tax burden from labour to capital and wealth. These reforms could raise substantial revenue, potentially funding green energy initiatives or cutting income taxes for most people, while also addressing wealth inequality and boosting economic growth.

Josh Ryan-Collins, in The Guardian, criticizes Rachel Reeves' rejection of wealth taxes and her implication that lower taxes on the wealthy will lead to prosperity (trickle-down economics). The article argues that the UK's tax system incentivizes rentier capitalism, where capital gains are taxed less than income, resulting in a misallocation of capital that stifles growth and productivity. It contends that taxing wealth and capital gains while increasing public spending can help control inflation and promote progressive deflation, aligning with recommendations from organizations like the OECD, IMF, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

In the context of this ongoing debate surrounding taxation policies in the UK, if outright wealth taxes are ruled out, it is crucial to at least reform more regressive and punitive property taxes, notably council tax and stamp duty. Indeed, The Financial Times’ Editorial Board argues that council tax, stamp duty, and business rates hinder productivity and economic growth. The board proposes replacing council tax with an annual proportional property value tax based on updated valuations, gradually reducing stamp duty, and reforming business rates. These changes aim to address inequality and promote growth.

As we turn our attention to the next General Election, the Labour Party Manifesto serves as a roadmap for its policy priorities and aspirations when seeking to govern the country. By including property tax reform, the party would signal its commitment to addressing two of the most pressing issues in the UK: economic inequality and regional disparities. This commitment aligns with the party's historical values and its promise to create a fairer and more inclusive society.

Property tax reform, as outlined by The FT, Lambert and Ryan-Collins, can play a pivotal role in rectifying the regressive nature of the current tax system. Council tax, based on outdated property values, places a disproportionate burden on households in less affluent regions, exacerbating regional inequality. By pledging to replace council tax with an annual proportional property value tax, the Labour Party would demonstrate its dedication to levelling the playing field and ensuring that taxation is fair and equitable.

Furthermore, the inclusion of property tax reform in their manifesto underscores the Labour Party's commitment to fiscal responsibility. While advocating for tax reforms, Labour acknowledges the importance of maintaining local government revenue. By carefully phasing in changes, introducing caps and reliefs for vulnerable households, and deferring payments until property sale or death, the party can strike a balance between fairness and financial stability. This balanced approach resonates with voters who value responsible economic management.

Importantly, property tax reform is a policy that can capture the attention and support of a broad spectrum of voters. Proportional property taxes are commonplace in many countries indicating their feasibility and acceptance among the public. The proposal to cut taxes for three in four people while raising necessary revenue can be an attractive proposition for voters and help deliver a persuasive campaign platform.

In conclusion, while wealth taxes may be ruled out, including reform to property taxes, specifically council tax and stamp duty, in the Labour Party's manifesto is not only a strategic move but also a commitment to tackling regional inequality, fiscal responsibility, and an opportunity to resonate with voters across the political spectrum. By taking a stance that aligns with economic fairness and growth, the Labour Party can set itself apart and offer a compelling vision for the future of the UK's tax system and its broader society.

In ditching wealth tax, Labour is rejecting growth and embracing bad economics

“The Labour Party has no serious plans for reforming Britain’s regressive taxation system. There will be no new property taxes or wealth tax. Nor will tax rates on capital gains – unearned income from increases in the value of property or financial assets – be raised to match those on wages.”

In ditching wealth tax, Labour is rejecting growth and embracing bad economics


In his article for The Guardian, Josh Ryan-Collins criticizes the Labour Party, particularly its shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, for their refusal to embrace property tax reform and wealth taxation. Reeves' stance of maintaining the current taxation system, including not implementing new property or wealth taxes, is viewed by Ryan-Collins as a misguided political move that contradicts the party's mission of fostering economic growth.

Reeves seems to endorse "trickle-down" economics, implying that lower taxes for the wealthy will stimulate economic growth for all, a concept widely discredited. Contrary to this approach, the Biden administration in the United States has opted for aggressive tax increases to support a significant fiscal expansion, leading to a robust post-pandemic recovery.

Ryan-Collins argues that the UK's tax system encourages a form of "rentier capitalism" where capital gains are taxed less than income, leading to significant tax breaks for property ownership and housing investment. This incentivizes the accumulation of assets by private investors and property owners, rather than fostering productive investment, innovation, or infrastructure development. This structural issue contributes to the UK's stagnant growth and low productivity.

The article also highlights the challenge of inflation, which can hinder Labour's plans for increased public spending and green initiatives. To address this, Ryan-Collins suggests that taxing wealth and capital gains, particularly from the wealthy, can help mitigate inflationary pressures and allow wages for lower earners to catch up with the rest of society.

Notably, Labour's stance on taxation contradicts the views of many economic institutions, including the OECD, IMF, Institute for Fiscal Studies, and the Financial Times, which advocate for higher taxes on property and wealth as a means to support public investment, reduce inequality, and promote economic growth. Ryan-Collins concludes that Labour's position aligns with a minority of economists who still believe taxing wealth less than income can foster growth, a viewpoint that is increasingly isolated.

Click here to read the full article.

Britain’s great tax con

“A proportional property tax would not raise revenue, but it would even the burden between poor and rich households. That would galvanise the economy, as the rich save and the poor spend.”

Britain’s great tax con


In his excellent piece titled "Britain’s great tax con" Harry Lambert discusses the need for tax reform in the UK. The article points out that the UK's tax system perpetuates inequality, hampers economic growth, and benefits the wealthy at the expense of the majority.

The Labour party, poised to return to power, has been reluctant to specify its tax plans, except for a commitment not to introduce new taxes on wealth. However, the article argues that Labour will face the challenge of raising revenue to fund its government spending, and one effective way to do so is by shifting the tax burden from labour to capital, from income to wealth.

By increasing taxes on wealth, Labour could potentially reduce taxes on income. The proposed reforms detailed in the article could generate £28 billion annually, which could be used for green energy initiatives or to cut income tax rates. This shift from taxing labour to capital would align with Labour's historical focus on supporting workers.

The article emphasizes that ignoring wealth and refusing to consider these tax reforms is a mistake for Labour. Wealth inequality in the UK has grown over the years, with the wealthiest 10 percent consistently gaining the most, while the bottom half struggles. The current tax system benefits the wealthy, including those who inherit vast estates, as only a small percentage of gifts and inheritances are taxed.

The article argues that Labour could gain popularity and redefine its identity by advocating for tax reforms on wealth, such as a proportional property tax, which could level the playing field between rich and poor households.

Furthermore, the article suggests implementing a wealth tax on the very richest individuals, which could raise substantial revenue without causing capital flight or significant evasion.

In conclusion, the article calls on the Labour party to address the flaws in the UK's tax code, particularly regarding property tax, in order to reduce inequality, spur economic growth, and fulfill its promise of representing the interests of working people.

Click here to read the full article.

Britain’s inefficient and unfair property levies need reform

“As long as the status quo with council tax, stamp duty and business rates remains in place, the UK will be a more unequal, less productive, and lower revenue-raising country.”

Britain’s inefficient and unfair property levies need reform


In this article by the FT Editorial Board, the authors delve into the shortcomings of Britain's property tax system, touching upon the principles of taxation set forth by Adam Smith and emphasizing the need for reform to address issues of fairness, certainty, convenience, and efficiency. The article references "Fairer Share" in proposing solutions to these problems.

The current system of property taxes in the UK, including council tax, stamp duty, and business rates, is criticized for failing to align with the four principles advocated by Adam Smith. These taxes collectively generate substantial government revenue, close to 9 percent of the total, but they are considered poorly designed and detrimental to both economic equality and productivity.

Council tax, a tax based on property values from 1991, is highlighted as regressive due to significant changes in house prices since then. This tax places a disproportionate burden on residents, with those in the north-east and south-west regions paying the highest percentages of their wages. In contrast, residents in London, where incomes and property values are higher, pay significantly less in proportion to their income.

The article suggests replacing council tax with an annual proportional property value tax based on current house valuations, with local councils retaining access to the revenues. Tax rates would be adjusted to ensure each authority raises a similar amount as it did with council tax, and central funding to local authorities would be modified accordingly. The transition would be phased in to prevent abrupt changes in bills, and safeguards such as caps, reliefs, and deferred payment options would be implemented to support those in vulnerable financial situations.

The discussion then turns to stamp duty, a transaction tax that discourages property owners from downsizing and hinders the fluidity of the housing market. This, in turn, affects labour mobility and exacerbates skill shortages in various regions. The article proposes a gradual reduction and eventual elimination of stamp duty, potentially replaced by a 0.5 percent tax on current property valuations, as proposed by us, while maintaining revenue neutrality.

The article acknowledges the political challenges and resistance to these reforms, emphasizing the inertia within the current property tax system due to potential winners and losers from change. It calls for a phased approach, cost mitigation measures, and planning reforms to incentivize development. The central message is that maintaining the status quo with council tax, stamp duty, and business rates will result in a more unequal, less productive, and lower-revenue-raising UK, ultimately benefiting no one.

Click here to read the full article.

Andrew Dixon | Living longer with the Proportional Property Tax

This article appeared in CapX on June 29th 2023, written by Andrew Dixon, founder of Fairer Share 

The debate surrounding tax reform options is intensifying ahead of the next General Election, compelling both the Government and Opposition to grapple with the challenge of maintaining fiscal balance in the face of higher inflation, growing inequality, and aging populations. Inheritance tax, income tax, corporation tax have all become topics of daily discussion but there is one area that deserves more attention: property tax. Stamp Duty and Council Tax have become outdated and are having a significant impact in the marginal seats that will be at the centre of the election battle.

Stamp Duty is restricting the opportunity for families to get onto the housing ladder, exacerbating the housing crisis by discouraging house purchases, contributing to under-occupation of certain properties, and slowing down the overall market. And Council Tax is in dire need of reform. Research conducted by the TaxPayers’ Alliance revealed that the average band D Council Tax bill in England has more than tripled since its introduction 30 years ago, representing an increase of 79% in real terms. The consequences of this rising and regressive tax are far-reaching. It diminishes disposal income, adds to already high housing costs, and exacerbates inequalities in local government funding. Disturbingly, all these issues have a knock-on impact on health and life expectancy as well.

A new report from Fairer Share released this week with WPI Economics highlights a startling correlation: even a 0.2% increase in the burden of Council Tax is associated with a one-year reduction in average life expectancy. The impact of this in practice can be seen in the comparison between County Durham and Westminster. In the former, Council Tax bills average 1.15% of property value, while in the latter, it is a mere 0.06%. Life expectancy in County Durham is seven years lower for men and six years lower for women compared to the area surrounding Parliament.

Amidst the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, politicians are overlooking a revenue-neutral tax reform that could make a difference. This reform involves abolishing both Council Tax and Stamp Duty, replacing them with the Proportional Property Tax, which would primarily benefit those residing in the poorest and least healthy areas. Under the new system, 18 million households would pay less compared to the current Council Tax rates, resulting in £6.5bn in savings for Council Tax payers outside of central London. Every region in the UK except London would experience savings on property tax, ranging from £143 per year per household in eastern England to £615 in Yorkshire, Humber, and the north-east.

By increasing the disposable incomes of those most in need and poorest in health, this shift in tax policy has the potential to reduce inequality and improve health outcomes. It is crucial that a transition to the Proportional Property Tax be included in party manifestos. Voters should no longer be expected to endure the burden of regressive property taxes, particularly when these taxes have the potential to compromise the health, the well-being, and the financial stability of both themselves and their families.

Simon Fell's Letter to Andrew Griffith MP

Andrew Griffith MP

Economic Secretary to the Treasury HM Treasury

The Correspondence & Enquiry unit 1 Horse Guards Road

London SW1A 2HQ


26 May 2023 

Alternatives to Council Tax and Stamp Duty

Thank you for attending the Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday 17th May. I appreciate your recognition of the cross-party support for reform and your acknowledgment of the unfairness inherent in our country's property taxes.

I thought it prudent to write to you, post-debate, to address some of the concerns that you raised at the debate.

You expressed concerns about the impact on low and fixed incomes, particularly the "asset- rich, cash-poor"individuals. As mentioned in my introductory remarks, during the transition to Proportional Property Tax (PPT),any increase in local property tax would be capped at £100 per month (£3 per day) for primary residences. This transitional protection would cease upon sale, but buyerswould benefit from the removal of Stamp Duty.

Additionally, a deferral mechanism could be implemented for owners genuinely unable to pay, allowing them todefer tax payments with a modest interest charge. The deferred amount could be paid later or upon the sale of the home,avoiding debt-related issues associated with Council Tax collection.

It is important to note that this reform aims to address the inherent unfairness of Council Tax rather thanimposing wealth taxes. Council Tax, in essence, acts as a wealth tax for low and middle-income families. While it istheoretically based on a property's value, the valuations are outdated, relying on property prices from 1991.

In my constituency of Barrow & Furness, the average household pays 0.80% of the property value in Council Taxannually, significantly impacting their disposable income. Such a tax rate would be deemed unpalatable in affluentareas like London. Therefore, we must question why it is accepted in constituencies like mine.

You rightly noted that a property tax on residential properties alone would not be comprehensive, but it is a positive step to tax immovable and easily valued assets, considering how simple it is to shift financial assets offshore.

Furthermore, local government finance has long been a subject of concern and debate. Local authorities face thechallenge of balancing their budgets while providing essential services to their communities. However, existingmechanisms like Council Tax has limitations that result in imbalances and unfairness. Fairer Share proposes asolution to these challenges through the implementation of Proportional Property Tax (PPT). This innovative approachaims to create a fairer and more progressive system of local government finance. The PPT addresses thelimitations of existing mechanisms by aligning tax payments more closely with property values and ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources.

Under the PPT, properties would be regularly revalued based on their current market value, reducing disparities andensuring that households with similar properties pay a fair share of taxes. Additionally, the PPT introduces aprogressive structure, meaning that individuals with higher-valued properties contribute more, while those withlower-valued properties pay less.

Crucially, Fairer Share's PPT still upholds the principles of local referenda, allowing local residents to have a say inmajor financial decisions. The PPT would provide local communities with a fairer and more transparent tax system as the basis for their decision-making.

Implementing Fairer Share's PPT would bring several benefits to local government finance. Firstly, it would create afairer and more progressive system, reducing inequalities in tax burdens across households and communities. Thisenhanced fairness would contribute to greater social cohesion and address the long-standing issue of disproportionate tax contributions.

Secondly, the PPT would provide local authorities with a more stable and predictable revenue stream. By basing taxes on property values, which tend to be more stable than other economic indicators, local authorities can better plan and allocate resources to meet the needs of their communities.

Lastly, the PPT promotes local autonomy and decision-making. By granting local authorities’ greater revenue-raising powers, they can become more self-reliant and responsive to local needs and preferences. The PPT enableslocal authorities to have the financial means to invest in infrastructure, public services, and other initiatives thatdirectly benefit their communities.

I understand your concerns regarding the challenges of valuation. Fairer Share approached the International Property Tax Institute (IPTI) for advice on implementing Proportional Property Tax (PPT) inthe UK. IPTI, drawing on its expertise in property tax systems worldwide, provided guidance on various valuationissues related to the potential implementation of PPT.

It is worth noting that several countries already have property tax systems similar to the proposed PPT, which haveproven successful. Countries like the Netherlands, British Columbia (Canada), and New York City (USA) employ property tax systems closely resembling PPT, utilizing local property taxes based on annual revalued capitalvalues. Some parts of Australia also employ local property tax systems with similar characteristics. Other jurisdictionslike Ontario (Canada) and New Zealand use capital values but revalue them every 3 to 4 years.

Many countries worldwide conduct regular revaluations of capital values for their property tax systems.

Notably, these jurisdictions value all property types (residential and non-residential) on the same basis. They havefound that valuing residential properties with a high degree of accuracy is relatively straightforward, utilizingcomputer-assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) techniques incorporating automated valuation model (AVM)technology.

Ireland's unique approach to valuing residential properties for local property tax purposes is included in the study.Although based on individual capital values like PPT, Ireland's system employs self-assessment for valuations. Arevaluation is planned for later in 2021. Another similarity between the Irish system and the UK is the distinctionbetween residential and non- residential properties, involving separate processes, procedures, and valuation methods.The current UK valuation agencies do not possess the necessary technology for PPT. However, their previousexperiences with mass appraisal systems could be beneficial.

In conclusion, IPTI provided comprehensive advice on implementing Proportional Property Tax (PPT) in the UK, addressing valuation methodologies, data requirements, costs, challenges, and international examples. The report highlights the potential benefits of PPT and offers insights based on the experiences of other jurisdictions.

Thank you once again for your input, and I hope that the information provided addresses your concerns.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Simon Fell

Member of Parliament for Barrow & Furness


Watch the debate below: -




Key conclusions from Westminster Hall debate on property tax reform


Proposals for Property Tax Reform: Levelling Up, Promoting Fairness and Stimulating Economic Growth

Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness, led a Westminster Hall debate on the future of Council Tax and Stamp Duty in Parliament on Wednesday 17th May. There was widespread cross party support for Fairer Share’s Proportional Property Tax. Below are the key conclusions drawn from this important debate

In his speech advocating for property tax reform, Simon Fell highlights the flaws and inequities of the current property tax system and presents a solution aimed at unleashing savings, promoting equity, and stimulating economic growth. Fell acknowledges the historical challenges associated with property tax reform, referencing the poll tax riots as a cautionary tale. However, he emphasizes that the current property taxes disproportionately favour the wealthy, burden lower-value homes, discourage efficient housing use, and penalize homebuyers and sellers. These issues impact all constituencies and hinder the provision of local services and infrastructure.

Council Tax
Council tax, introduced in 1993 as a replacement for the unpopular poll tax, has become increasingly dissatisfying to the public. Surveys reveal that only 29% of people consider council tax calculations fair, with 33% supporting the status quo. The burden falls heavily on the young, low earners, and residents in less prosperous regions, while benefiting wealthy homeowners and property investors. The outdated property valuations and the band structure contribute to the unfairness of council tax. For example, a person in a £100,000 property pays roughly five times more tax relative to property value than someone in a £1 million property. Such disparities are far from a fair tax system.

Stamp Duty
Stamp duty, often considered council tax's accomplice, exacerbates the housing crisis by discouraging property transactions and hindering efficient property use. While it has progressive rates for larger transactions, it still poses barriers to homeowners looking to downsize or upsize, affecting job opportunities and overall housing market activity. Fell argues that abolishing stamp duty on owner-occupied properties would alleviate the housing crisis and promote housing stock utilization. However, he suggests retaining stamp duty for second home and non-residential buyers to address issues specific to certain communities, such as the hollowing out of villages due to second homes and holiday lets.

The Proposal
Proportional Property Tax (PPT) System To address the inadequacies of the current property tax system, Fell proposes a move to a proportional property tax (PPT) system. He cites the Fairer Share methodology as a concrete solution, replacing the convoluted band system with a simple flat tax of 0.48% of property value, with a 0.96% surcharge for second homes, empty homes, and non-residential properties. The benefits of such a system would be significant: 18 million households would experience a tax reduction, with an average annual saving of £556 per household. Additionally, council tax payers outside central London would save £6.5 billion annually, providing a substantial boost to local communities and economies. The reform would also exempt over 750,000 house buyers from paying stamp duty, simplifying, and reducing the cost of house buying. The increased housing market activity is estimated to contribute to a £3.27 billion boost in GDP per year.

Impact on Second Homes and Empty Homes:
Moreover, the PPT system would ensure that 1.4 million second homes, empty homes, and undeveloped properties contribute their fair share of tax, with the generated revenue used to lower bills for all taxpayers. This would incentivize owners to rent, sell, or develop these properties, thereby increasing the housing supply. Fell highlights that the reform would generate an annual surplus of £5.4 billion through surcharges on second homes, empty homes, and foreign-owned homes. This surplus can be utilized by the government to address various pressing needs. Shifting the tax burden to owners aligns with international practice and also eases administration for local councils.

Mitigations for Potential Impact:
Fell acknowledges that any wide-ranging reform will have winners and losers. To address concerns about potential higher taxes for individuals, he proposes several mitigations to soften the impact. These include the introduction of a transitional period, extending the period for any tax increase over a certain threshold, and allowing homeowners to defer payments until a property is sold. Additionally, the government could explore options such as a temporary subsidy for certain groups to ensure a fair transition and alleviate any short-term financial burden.

Local Government Finance and Redistribution:
Regarding the impact on local government finance, Fell proposes central government grants or funds redistributed from councils generating higher PPT revenue to supplement the shortfall for councils generating less revenue. This would ensure that no local authority faces significant financial challenges due to the reform. Additionally, a portion of the generated surplus could be allocated to local authorities to support community projects, infrastructure development, and public services.

Political Support:
Fell noted that politicians from various parties, along with think tanks like Bright Blue, IFS, IPPR, and campaign groups such as PricedOut, Generation Rent, and Intergenerational Foundation, have endorsed the transition to a proportional property tax. He went on to say that prominent economists from respected publications including The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, and The Guardian have given their endorsement to this reform.
The proposed property tax reforms have gained support from multiple Members of Parliament across party lines. Aaron Bell, MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, sees the alignment of the reforms with the government's levelling-up agenda and supports the proposal's potential benefits for his constituents.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, describes the current council tax system as regressive and ineffective, supporting the use of sliding scales and surcharges to ensure a fair contribution based on property value and ability to pay.

Jill Mortimer, MP for Hartlepool, highlights the unfairness of disproportionate council tax costs in her constituency compared to her London flat and supports the proportional property tax proposal.

Some MPs go even further in their criticisms. Mary Kelly Foy, MP for the City of Durham, criticizes the regressive nature of council tax and calls for a more progressive system that adequately funds local governments.

Peter Gibson, MP for Darlington, criticizes the fundamental flaws of the council tax system and advocates for alternatives, emphasizing the potential savings for his constituents.

Richard Burgon, Labour MP for Leeds East, calls for more progressive alternatives to council tax and suggests implementing real wealth taxes on the super-wealthy.

Kirsty Blackman, SNP Member of Parliament for Aberdeen North, notes that in Scotland, they have a different system with council tax known as the land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT), which was introduced in 2015. Blackman highlights that the LBTT is more proportionate to property prices compared to stamp duty in England. In Scotland, 40% of homebuyers do not pay any LBTT, and for properties below £175,000, which is the range for many first-time buyers, no LBTT is payable.

Responding to Helen Morgan's suggestion of linking stamp duty and similar taxes to the energy performance of buildings to encourage retrofitting and meet carbon targets, Blackman finds the idea novel and worthy of consideration.

Blackman mentions ongoing discussions in Scotland regarding council tax reform, acknowledging that the current system is not as fair as it could be. The Scottish Greens, SNP, and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities are working on short-term and long-term reforms for council tax. Blackman notes that council tax in Scotland is significantly lower than in England, with an average difference of £600 for a Band E property. While Blackman acknowledges that Scotland's system is still not as fair as desired, she emphasizes the commitment to making necessary changes and ensuring a more equitable tax system.

However, not all MPs are fully on board with the proposed reforms. Chris Loder, Conservative MP for West Dorset, calls for a review of the revenue support grant and supports a comprehensive review of council tax and its contributing factors.

James Murray, MP for Ealing North, emphasizes the need to address the cost-of-living crisis and criticizes the government's handling of council tax and stamp duty, calling for fairer and more effective alternatives.

Andrew Griffith, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, acknowledges the concerns raised and highlights the importance of council tax and stamp duty as fundamental taxes. He expresses caution regarding the potential consequences of certain reforms on local authorities and suggests exploring solutions that promote downsizing. Griffith assures that the government will continue to listen and consider the various proposals and concerns raised.

The proposal for property tax reform, presented by Simon Fell, provides a compelling case for transforming the current property tax system. The Proportional Property Tax (PPT) system offers the potential to unleash savings for millions of households, promote equity by ensuring a fairer distribution of the tax burden, stimulate economic growth through increased housing market activity, and address the inefficiencies of the existing council tax and stamp duty regimes. While concerns and opposition exist, the support garnered from MPs across different political affiliations underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive review and reform of property taxation in the United Kingdom. The government's commitment to considering alternative proposals and engaging in further dialogue represents a positive step toward achieving a fairer and more effective property tax system.

MP calls for fairer council tax system for Furness residents


  • Simon Fell, the MP for Barrow and Furness, is to hold a debate in the Westminster Hall Committee Room on Wednesday this week, to put forward council tax reforms for the UK.
  • The motion presented is: that the House of Commons considers Alternatives to Council Tax and Stamp Duty
  • Simon Fell MP supports and calls for council tax and stamp duty reforms to introduce a ‘Proportional Property Tax’

Simon Fell, the Member of Parliament for Barrow and Furness, is to host a debate in Parliament this week where he plans to call on the Government to consider reforms to council tax and stamp duty.

Mr Fell is calling on the government to scrap the current council tax and stamp duty system in favour of a proportional property tax.

In theory, council tax is a fair and progressive system which is based on a property’s value. In essence, if your property is worth more, then you pay more. The challenge, Simon says, with the current system is that the valuations are based on the property market of the early 1990’s. As a result, Mr Fell and MPs of all political persuasions are joining ‘Fairer Shares’ calls for a modern, reformed taxation system on property through proportional property tax.

Commenting, Simon said:

“I’m delighted to have been drawn in the ballot to hold this important debate on council tax reforms.

“It can not be right that the owner of a £30 million mansion in Westminster pays a council tax burden of just 0.06%, meanwhile the owner of a £120,000 home in Barrow pays a council tax burden of 0.80%.

“The current system is out of date, and unfair for Furness residents, and many others across the UK. That is why I am calling for reform to the way we tax properties in the UK.”

The Furness MP says that the ‘council tax conundrum’ has a ‘fair and simple solution’, which has the support of MPs from many political parties in Parliament called ‘Proportional Property Tax’ (PPT). PPT would see homeowners (and not renters) pay a flat rate of 0.48% based on current valuations, updated annually, rather than 1991 figures.

Fairer Share, the independent organisation calling for PPT, own analysis shows this would lead to significant tax cuts for 76% of families, saving £6.5 billion per year for households outside central London and the southeast (or £556 per household), helping to level up communities and boost local economies.

Commenting, Simon said:

“Not only will PPT save Furness households an average of £556 a year, but this reform would bring the treasury an extra £5.4 billion per year. This could be put toward the additional deficit created by the pandemic and the energy crisis. Or it could also be used to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis facing hard-working families.

“This is not about more tax. These reforms are about fairer tax. Households are finding the cost of living a real challenge right now. Westmorland and Furness council has hiked Furness residents council tax by almost 5%, and we’re not paying a fair rate when compared to mansion owners in London and the South East. It’s time for this outdated system to be modernised so that it’s fair and equal.”

Commenting, Andrew Dixon, Chairman of Fairer Share, said:

“We are delighted that Simon Fell has secured this important Westminster Hall debate. Council Tax is outdated and unfair. Stamp Duty is punitive and hinders mobility. Both taxes are in need of urgent reform and this debate is a wonderful opportunity for MPs to discuss the various options that are available. It is time for the Government to ensure councils are sustainably funded. I encourage MPs from all sides of the political spectrum to participate.”

The Guardian becomes the latest to endorse Fairer Share's PPT

The Guardian became the latest UK news publication to editorially endorse Council Tax reform, and more specifically, replacing it with a Proportional Property Tax. The article was written by the Guardian's Economics Editor, Larry Elliot and first appeared on the 9th April 2023.

A property tax based on annually uprated values would be a gamechanger

Sunak or Starmer will win votes – and most UK households will gain – if they replace the council tax

Rishi Sunak needs a gamechanger to have any hope of leading the Conservatives to victory at the next general election. Sir Keir Starmer could do with something to seal the deal with the British public.

The conventional wisdom is that there are no easy wins available to either the prime minister or the leader of the opposition in these straitened times. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. There is one policy that would be both popular and make economic sense, and that is reform of the UK’s property taxation...

Click here to read the rest of the article.