Lyons Report calls for new Council Tax bands for high value properties

Sir Michael Lyons has called for new Council Tax bands to reduce bills for those in the lowest value properties by increasing those of higher value homes, in his report into local government published today.

He says that a revaluation of Council Tax to update the tax base and improve fairness would not result in an increase on the average bill.

He also wants Council Tax benefit to be recognised as a rebate, and for an automated system to ensure the ?1.8 billion in unclaimed benefit is taken up by the poorest households.

He recommends raising the savings limit for pensioners to ?50,000 as he says pensioners are bearing too much of a burden under current Council Tax regulations.

Sir Michael Lyons, says Council Tax is not broken, but has come under pressure as it is seen as unfair

Other suggested reforms include assigning a fixed proportion of income tax to local government, finding ways to improve the incentives within the grant system; and introducing the power to levy a tourist tax.

Sir Michael Lyons adds: “Some of these changes can start immediately, building on current changes to the performance framework and Local Area Agreements; others can be taken forward in the Comprehensive Spending Review; whilst some require primary legislation.

This package of reforms is designed to set out a developmental approach towards a more devolved and ambitious future for local government, based on improving relationships between central and local government, better local choices, more effective management of pressures, and greater public trust in the system as a whole.”