In January this year, we wanted to have a better understanding of how Council Tax is perceived by the British public. To find out, we polled over 1,500 fine people up and down the country to see what they thought.

Given the lack of conversation around the issue within the national media, we expected a large percentage of respondents to have little or no knowledge of how Council Tax works. We had suspected that at least a small percentage would view their bills and the system to be unfair.

The findings were even more shocking than we had imagined. Less than three out of every ten Brits (29%) believe the Council Tax system is fair, whilst over half the public (52%) said they have no understanding of how the system works. This is particularly startling given that Council Tax is payable on almost all domestic properties, whether they are rented or owned. 

Respondents might not know that Council Tax is calculated based on the value of property from thirty years ago, or that each local council sets their own tax rate. They might not know that, compared to how much their property is worth, London’s tax rate is under half that of the North East. Perhaps if we all had a better understanding of these features, an even higher percentage would deem the system to be unfair. 

While many may not know how Council Tax works, they do know that their bills are rising. With Council Tax bills increasing by at least 4% in each of the last four years, over half of those surveyed (54%) believe their Council Tax bill to be too high. With inequality rising over the last decade and all of us really feeling the squeeze, a hefty Council Tax bill really sticks out as we manage our monthly finances. 

For Fairer Share, this information is invaluable. These findings suggest there is a lack of information on how Council Tax is calculated, how much we pay relative to other parts of the country, and how this money is reinvested in our communities. We know we are paying too much, but we don’t know why or how to change it. 

That is where we come in… 

At Fairer Share, we want to balance the scales. We want to kickstart the conversation, explaining why those in the Midlands and the North are paying more than those in London, and galvanise support by showing that a fairer alternative is possible. We want to direct this support towards the decision makers who have the power to end this unfair and unjust Council Tax system.

If you would like to join our campaign, please sign our petition calling for the government to replace Council Tax and Stamp Duty with our alternative: The Proportional Property Tax. To find out more about the Proportional Property Tax, please read our policy outline here.

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