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Labour MP says council tax should be doubled on highest-value homes

Labour MP Chris Williamson, regarded as an ally of party leader Jeremy Corbyn, is suggesting that high-value homes in England should have their council tax bills doubled. 

Specifically, the Derby North MP - who until yesterday was shadow minister for fire and emergency services - says council tax could be frozen in Bands A to C, with increases of 20 per cent, 40 per cent, 60 per cent, 80 per cent and 100 per cent applied to the higher bands.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Williamson conceded this was not official party policy but he suggests the initiative “could be the only way of arresting the cuts and generating some income to start to grow local services".

He adds: "It's not a panacea, it's a response to a terrible situation. I think it's an argument that could be won. This is not Labour party policy, it's an idea I came up with at a local level and it's got a little bit of traction in other parts of the country. It's a reaction to an emergency that local government has been placed in."

New housing minister Dominic Raab has criticised the suggestion, saying: "The last Labour government doubled council tax and now they want to hike it again. This latest plan would see people's bills soar by 20% and add at least £320 a year to the average council tax bill.”

Formally, councils in England have to hold local referendums if they wish to increase council tax by over three per cent in a year, although combined with a precept for local authorities providing social care, it is possible that council tax bills could increase by up to 5.99 per cent without a public vote. 

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