Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley today warned that Liberal Democrats were planning a new local income tax for the residents of Hitchin and Harpenden, which would hurt hard-working families and the elderly. The proposals were revealed during the national launch of the Liberal Democrats? local elections campaign.

    Peter Lilley said:

    “We already know that taxes on income have been hiked up by Labour through higher National Insurance, supported by the LibDems. Now, the LibDems are planning a new local income tax for residents in Hitchin and Harpenden, on top of their plans for higher national income tax. Last week, the Liberal Democrats accidentally released their strategy document for the local elections, which revealed that they know this plan will not be popular and so are planning not to highlight it to the electorate. I challenge local Liberal Democrats to be open about how much this would cost households in this area.

    “These plans are bad news for the hard-working residents of Hitchin and Harpenden. The average council tax across North Hertfordshire (including Hitchin) is currently ?1,034 and in St Albans and Harpenden it is ?1,197. We calculate that replacing it with a local income tax would be equivalent to a tax rate of 6% and 7% extra on pay packets and savings income, on top of higher national taxes.

    “Liberal Democrats talk about simplifying the tax system, but a local income tax would be a nightmare to administer. Ordinary families and pensioners on fixed incomes will be hit the hardest. There is no evidence that high-taxing councils deliver better services ? Conservative councils have lower council taxes but higher satisfaction ratings among local residents.?