There was a shocking rise in homelessness in 2017 – both rough sleeping and hidden numbers. It’s clear that nobody has a simple and sure-footed means of getting to grips with it, and the underlying poverty and deeper issues that lead to it. However, it’s also clear that many people are trying. There is a focus on homelessness and a desire to break the cycle. We opened up The Big Issue to ideas. The Big Issue Platform is non-partisan and open to politicians, policy-makers, business, third-sector leaders, readers and vendors. Anybody who has an idea that can be part of the solution – send it to us.
Fairer council tax – Ernie Hasler
“I am no expert on the subject of council tax, but for decades it has been recognised as being unfair. My own thoughts are a straight 0.5 per cent per annum on the property or land value with no exemptions for lawyers or accountants to exploit. The end product must substantially increase local authority council tax in a fair way.
“The problem of underfunding local authorities is now biting very hard and homelessness is growing. Local authorities must be given absolute powers to assess every property and land ownership to ensure full council tax is collected immediately, with no tax avoidance schemes, such as being owned by companies or trusts. The council tax must be paid within three months or sale or re-possession enacted. Properties not fully occupied such as second or holiday homes should be taxed at a higher rate.
“Let’s be honest, tax cheats are not good citizens, the billions they are avoiding paying is denying hard-working public servants a fair wage. Decent people need to take this issue up.”