Socialist Worker

Third term briefs

Issue No. 1951

cartoon by Tim Sanders

cartoon by Tim Sanders


Prepare for taxing times

Get ready for a thumping council tax bill, unless we can force the government to back off. The value of every home in England is being reassessed to calculate new council tax rates.

When the council tax replaced the poll tax in 1993, homes were placed in eight bands based on property prices.

The government says the reassessment of house values will not mean an overall increase in council tax. But in Wales, where this process has already taken place, over a third of homes have gone up by one band or more while about half have stayed in the same band.

In property “hot spots”, far more homes have gone up the bands — for example, nearly two thirds in Cardiff.

Anita Fellowes Wales for Council Tax Justice campaign


Card sharks

The government shows every sign of ploughing ahead with its plans for state identity control, using a massive database to track every British resident throughout their lives.

ID cards will not be voluntary. Compulsory fingerprinting is likely be introduced as soon as next year, using “royal prerogative” to sneak in the infrastructure required for the entire identity scheme.

Groups such as NO2ID and Defy-ID are building nationwide networks to provide resources for anti-ID campaigning.

Phil Booth NO2ID national coordinator
For more information go to www.no2id.net


Benefits threat

Blair plans to “reform” the £75 a week incapacity benefit for sick and disabled people. About four in five claimants will face a £20 a week cut if they fail to attend compulsory “work-focused interviews” and seek work.

Lorna Reith, chief executive of campaigning charity, the Disability Alliance, said, “Our concern is that there will be people who will not be able to engage in ‘work focused activities’, or who are perceived not to be doing it, who will end up living on poverty levels of benefit.

“We would like to persuade the government to drop the compulsion element and leave it to the choice of disabled people, who can decide what’s appropriate for them.

“I think MPs will be very unhappy with a system that’s seen to be punitive. There would be the potential for a rebellion.”


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Article information

News
Sat 14 May 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1951
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