Wednesday, 12 March 2008

This is going to be a crass post, I warn you in advance.

We got our council tax demand today, in the amount of just under £1,000. Yes, that is one month's take home pay for me, picked from my pocket by the local council. I'm thoroughly pissed off that in six years' time my council tax has gone from £83 a month to £97 a month for this absurdly tiny flat, but that's not what made me angry. It was the leaflet I got with the demand, titled, 'What Did You Get from Your Council Tax Today?'The leaflet opens out into a series of five two-page spreads with large comic-style illustrations of council services, along with some charts and graphs of council spending. And according to this leaflet the five things I got today were:

1. Schools
2. Recycling
3. Carers for elderly
4. Fire-safety checks from the Fire and Rescue Service
5. Disabled parking permits

Well, here's the crass part.

1. I don't have kids in school here and I get sick of hearing about school here.
2. The council does not provide recycling containers to flat blocks, so we have to carry away our own.
3. I am not elderly; if I needed a carer would I get one? I doubt it.
4. I can check my fire alarm myself and don't see why my council tax pays for what other people can do for themselves.
5. I am neither disabled nor do I have a car, so that's another one that doesn't apply to me.

I told you it was crass!! But come on! One-tenth of my income has been taken off me to provide services for other people! What do I get, other than the 'joy' of providing the funds. It doesn't help to know that most of the people who use the services I pay for have not paid in to the council tax system themselves--I paid their council tax for them because they're exempt!

I know other things are provided by council tax, but those patronizing cartoons and the services they highlighted just REALLY ticked me off today.

So if you're healthy, middle aged, no kids, employed, have never missed a NI or council tax payment, what do you get? The bill, that's what.


*grinding teeth*

Don't give me that 'But you're paid by the council' line, either. They take one-tenth of my income!! How would you like to have to kick in some of your salary so your colleagues could get paid?

Look, I know I'm supposed to feel I'm contributing to a safer community and all that stuff. But right now I just feel robbed. It seems like people get breaks all the time for having kids, or a bad back or 'stress'. I don't have to be altruistic every minute of the day for God's sake! Wouldn't it be great if you could get a letter from the government saying,

Dear Mr. and Mrs X:

We notice that for the last six years you have paid all your taxes without fail, you have committed no crimes, you have made no claims upon the NHS. You have committed no traffic violations, caused no public disturbances, defaulted on no loans. In short, you have created no burden on society whatsoever. Had you made use of services, you surely would have cost us more than we are about to hand back to you. We therefore are happy to send you this check in the amount of £X,XXX, a tax refund in reward for your being truly good citizens.

Yours faithfully,

Alistair Darling

Okay, selfish and illogical rant over.


Derek said...

Council tax is a rip-off....and I am sick of being taxed to death in this country. I am convinced that the money we pay into the services doesn't get spent on them! :(

jamie said...

don't get me started on council tax.
it is a total effing rip-off,but my opinion of this wretched country is growing dimmer by the second...
what we're paying for is all the immigrant dossers and single scrounging mothers to sit at home,or down the bookies while we slave away in shit-hole jobs all day.
we're in the same boat as you guys,no kids,private health care,we pay road tax and never use publis transport,and yet our council tax is nearly one grand.
i'm supposed to want to get burgled or have my house burn down just so i can get my moneys worth?