Tax scrap plan welcomed

SUFFOLK pensioners today backed a Government idea for council tax to be scrapped - but vowed to keep protesting until it becomes reality.The Government proposal reported today, is expected to emerge this summer, from an ongoing review of how councils and central government should share the cost of local services.

SUFFOLK pensioners today backed a Government idea for council tax to be scrapped - but vowed to keep protesting until it becomes reality.

The Government proposal reported today, is expected to emerge this summer, from an ongoing review of how councils and central government should share the cost of local services. Council tax could be due to be axed and replaced by a mixed charge on house prices and income.

Last year's 18.5 per cent increase in council tax led to a number of Suffolk pensioners joining a national protest in central London.

Even this year's proposed increase of 4.5 per cent was badly received as it is well above the 2.5 per cent interest rate.


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Reg Hartles, 71, of Felixstowe, is a spokesman from the Suffolk Protest Against Council Tax group and they welcomed the news.

He said: "We certainly need a change of system and I am glad that something is being done about it.

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"We were hoping for a nought per cent increase this year to give us time to recover from last year but we would still be well out of pocket."

Despite the proposals, Mr Hartles said the group would continue protesting until the system was changed.

With a general election expected to take place next year, Mr Hartles feels Tony Blair had to introduce some new legislation or risk losing power.

Mr Hartles said: "The central Government would be committing political suicide if they ignored the issue.

"These protests are not going to go away and while the Government are increasing our council tax above inflation, we will keep protesting.

"Our committee is mainly pensioners but we are representing all age groups and we got a terrific response.

"I think all the work we have done in the last year proved useful. Suffolk County Council have responded to our concerns and it has been worth while.

"But we have to keep the pressure on and we will continue protesting until we have got something concrete that we can say we are satisfied with."

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