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Ministerial Broadcast: Secretary of State for the Environment

Good evening.

My name is David Blair, and I am one of the Secretaries of State in Her Majesty’s Government. One of my responsibilities is for local government, and the funding of your local council.

I want to speak to you briefly this evening about the community charge, or poll tax.

Many of you feel that the poll tax is manifestly unfair. There are legitimate concerns that the new tax is burdensome for low earners, and that it needlessly penalises the poor. Many of you have refused to pay the poll tax. And many have protested against its imposition.

I can announce today that this new Government, which intends to put the wellbeing of families at the heart of its agenda, is abolishing the poll tax with immediate effect. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that noone will be asked to pay the poll tax from April this year, and that anyone who has already paid the tax will be issued with a full refund matching the total of their contributions.

To pay for this, the Government is providing an extra £11 billion of centrally-funded grants to local councils. This means that the poll tax can be abolished without any reduction in local government funding, ensuring that no services are cut.

From 1992, a new and fairer system of local taxation will be introduced. This new system will be paid according to ability, rather than being a flat tax paid at the same rate by everyone. I can’t say much more about the new system just yet, but I would like to assure you that it will be a fairer, simpler and easier way of funding local councils compared to the poll tax.

On the poll tax, the Government got it wrong. Today, this new Government is rectifying its mistakes. To be clear: from April, noone will be asked to pay the poll tax. And anyone who has already paid will be given a full refund. Additional funding from the Government will ensure that no council is forced to cut services in order to fund the loss of poll tax revenues.

If the Government has lost your trust, I hope that these steps are a small way in which we can begin to earn it back. All politicians, from time to time, get things wrong: what matters is that, when we’re wrong, we hold our hands up and we fix it. That is what I propose to do.

Thank you.
An interesting way to deliver the news, but effective given this was an issue that crossed party, class, and community lines.

The lack of detail on replacement is noticed, and fine for now given you just gave everyone a £11 billion tax cut. But people will want to know what they're paying next year pretty soon.

+1XP and a media celebrity trait since everyone now sort of recognises your face.
Steve | A-Team

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