Friday, 10 July 2009

Crumbs From Our Masters' Table

The Manchester Evening News reports that Manchester City Council are considering giving a one-off “handout” of fifty pounds to each householder in the city, supposedly in order to help people cope with the effects of the recession. This “handout” should really be referred to as a “handback”, since the money was originally extorted from the taxpayers – if this payment materialises at all, it won't be coming out of the councillors' pockets, it will simply be the return of a very small amount of our own money. It seems that this idea was originated by the “Liberal” Democrats and that their spiritual brothers in the Labour group have agreed to consider it – no doubt both parties believe that this gimick will buy them a few extra votes in the local elections next year.

The MEN goes on to report that the council underspent by 6.8 million pounds last year, and that the current low interest rates mean that the council's debt repayments have been dramatically reduced. That sounds like good news – so why did Council Tax go up again this year? Manchester's sky-high Council Tax is a major burden on the working poor in this town, especially those who are in debt and whose job prospects are uncertain – a large proportion of the population, in other words. Council Tax is an extremely unjust tax that has no relation to the individual's ability to pay, and therefore a Libertarian government would replace it with a tax on luxury goods. Obviously local councils have no power to do that, but the first priority of any responsible local politician should be to keep the burden of taxation to the absolute minimum necessary, consistent with keeping the council's core functions properly funded. Unfortunately, the Establishment parties think of your money as being theirs to spend as they choose. Like oldtime feudal lords, they'll throw some alms back to the poor and hope you don't notice that one of the reasons you are poor is the crushing burden of taxation that they impose on you.

The Libertarian Party recognises that your money is yours by right – it's what you've worked for, and the council has no right to take more than it needs. When the Libertarian Party has its own elected councillors, they will work to ensure that Council Tax is kept as low as it can be – frozen at least, reduced if possible. That one simple act of stealing a bit less money from the taxpayers is the best thing that the council can do to help the honest working people of Manchester.

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