Council Tax bills are dropping on the door mats, and once again we are paying more and getting less.

As taxpayers, we are being ripped off.

The levels of Council Tax in County Durham are obscene when compared to other regions.

Today, a six-bed, four-bathroom house in Holland Park, London, would set you back £25,000,000. As a band H property in Kensington and Chelsea, they will pay a top rate of Council Tax of £2,728.94.

Also available is a four-bed family home in Whitehouse Court, Easington Village, listed for £217,000. As a band D property in County Durham, Council Tax will be £2,392.18.

The extent of wealth inequality in the UK means that levelling up is impossible.

The Government’s so-called Levelling Up Fund, and Shared Prosperity Fund, are sticking plasters, which the Government have failed to apply fairly (See £1 million Levelling Up Farce).

A property’s value is determined by numerous factors, access to public transport, availability of good schools, a local economy that offers employment, opportunity and good wages.

In communities like Kensington and Chelsea, which exclude people based upon their economic status, the demand for services is overwhelmingly lower, in terms of looked after children, cost of adult social care, or dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour.

Our system is perverse, where the poorest communities that have been starved of investment, pay more in Council Tax than the most affluent communities with an embarrassment of riches and income.

Anyone serious about levelling up must first look at tax, and the only viable alternative to Council Tax I have seen is a Proportional Property Tax (PPT).

PPT is simple and fair, charged at 0.48% of a property’s value.

A one million pound home, whether in Horden or Harrow, would pay the same – £4,800 a year.

I ask everyone to do the math.

If your home is worth £100,000, you would pay £480

£200,000, you pay £960, £300,000 equals £1, 440.

Now compare that to your Council Tax bill.

As a country we have a choice, we can continue to talk about a Northern Powerhouse, Regional Investment and Levelling Up, or we can actually deliver the policies required to rebalance the economy and empower left-behind communities that are being ignored by Central Government.

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