Nice to see the BBC putting such a favourable spin on the inflation-busting increase in Council taxes due in April. Note the disclaimer helpfully inserted in the very first sentence and then the use of the CPI to also help make us all feel that we are getting a good deal from the little tyrants that run local Councils. Further, the question is not what inflation is setting at now but rather where will it be in April when the new council taxes kick in! In fairness, Conservative Eric Pickles does get his say – but you have to wade more than half ways down the page to see that.

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41 Responses to TAXING TIMES.

  1. Martin says:

    The TV tax must be up for renewal soon as well.


  2. Frankos says:

    The real point is that council tax has risen whilst the goverment increases the burden on local councils whilst lightening it’s own. This goverment has increased real taxation by sneakily putting tax rises on our council taxes, a point not lost on Mr Pickles over the years.
    The BBC instincts are towards vast taxation and centralisation so this fits into their political model very nicely.


  3. weirdvis says:

    It’s not the rise so much as the diminishing returns. Us paying more for less seems to be sound Labour economics. We pay and Labour saves so that it can dole out billions to banks, failed PFI schemes and maintain obscene IT overspends on systems that will never work.


  4. It’s the business rate which is the real killer for town centres. Only chains and groups can afford the up-front extortion of local councils and so every town centre in the UK looks like every other – same stores and no variety. None or few of the shops are small businesses. This devastation of our High Streets is not likely to be the subject of any BBC report.


  5. firefoxx says:

    As some of you might remember me saying, I’m a local councillor in the South-East. Our budget is just over £100 million a year, and each year central govt requires us to spend a bit more on the essential services (included in a process called ZBB, zero based budgeting), while not giving us any more cash to pay for it. Over the next 5 years we’re looking at diminishing grant increases which won’t cover inflation, meaning that our actual spending money from central grants is cut.

    They also play a sneaky trick by announcing something nice and fluffy, like more money for new social services or kids centres, fund it for 1 year only, then remove the funding after that. We have to pay extra for year 2 onwards, or look cruel when we close it down.

    Another issue, of course, is that all southern councils (except one) are Conservative or NOC. Labour hate that and, basically, screw us.


  6. Frankos says:

    not forgetting that the government has moved public sector pension liabilities onto councils –a future timebomb


  7. Tom says:

    firefoxx | 19.01.09 – 11:52 am

    That’s really interesting.

    Just what we ought to get from the BBC, with its staff of local government correspondents, its network of local and regional newsrooms etc.

    But we don’t.

    I’m constantly struck that I learn more about a whole range of international and domestic stories from visiting this blog than I do from the 3 bn pound BBC……


  8. Pete says:

    It’s about time the BBC did an investigation into how much council taxes would be if council employes were given the average private sector pension.

    They won’t.


  9. bodo says:

    The ‘lowest rise for years’ line is stated on all the reports I’ve seen on BBC TV and on radio too. Clearly a memo has been sent round ordering the positive spin.
    Labour will be pleased.


  10. Jonathan says:

    Forget about Council Tax…

    How about the postive way that the BBC 1 o’clock news introduced Brown’s latest rescue package.

    Vince Cable & George Osborne spoke for about 30sec (combined) while the rest was unadulterated GVN properganda. The comparison with ITV was stark. The Beeb even played down the losses at RBS £6-7 Billion they said. Over on ITV the figure was £28 Billion. No mention either on the Beeb, that by implication Brown rescue package mark 2 – shows that rescue package mark 1 (cost £38 billion) had failed. Remember all those promises that Gordon had got from the banks about lending at 2007 levels? No mention either of all the Taxpayer money lost at Northern Rock. Or any suggestion that perhaps the UK cannot afford the latest binge of Brown’s borrowing. Clearly, the BBC believes that it is impossible for the UK to go bankrupt. Unfortunately, the markets think otherwise.

    One final point – why was there no tough questions? For instance, we were told that the new GVN insurance scheme (wortrh £50 Billion) would be audited – but by whom? Just who decides how much these toxic debts are worth in today’s market? I’ve a feeling that the Taxpayer is about to get ripped-of. But the BBC won’t defend my interests or even ask questions on my behalf.

    BBC coverage is becoming a joke!


  11. Zevilyn says:

    Ultimately there are only two options:

    1. Nationalise some of the banks (especially the stupid incompetent ones).

    2. Let them die.

    Bailing out banks is far too expensive for the taxpayer, especially as private businesses are not the responsibility of the taxpayer. We are heading towards “perpetual bailout”.

    Brown’s policy may not be as idiotic and corrupt as the scandalous US TARP.


  12. Robert says:

    Wonder how the BBC will spin this one:
    “Britain’s economy in even worse state says EC”
    Their 2 best friends – Gordon Brown and the EC – in dispute! In cases like this we know which way they jump, however… Don’t expect to see this story get much prominence in other words.


  13. Jonathan says:

    According to the BBC website market report as of 16.11 today, RBS has a great day on the stock market. It is the ‘top winner’ in the FTSE 100 (figures shown below)

    “Top winner and loser
    Royal Bank of Scotland Group
    540.00 505.30 1456.20”

    Except RBS shatres have actually fallen by some 2/3rds on news of a record loss & the GVN’s increased stake to 70%.

    The BBC – the world’s finest news service. Your having a laugh!!


  14. Jonathan says:

    On November 25th I complained to the BBC about a serious inaccuracy in their 1 o’clock news report re: the Chancellor’s pre-budget report. Is it just me, or have they failed to answer any of my questions? I have copied my original complaint and their answer below…

    —–Original Message—–

    >{Programme Name:} 1 O’clock news
    >{Transmission Date:}25 – 11 – 08
    Dear Sir/Madam,

    In a pre-recorded report about the tax rises announced in yesterday’s PBR, one of your journalists claimed: “It depends on individuals, but generally only those earning more than £100,000 will really loose out”.

    A truly remarkable claim, given that GVN Ministers have themselves talked about £40,000 as the cut of point; and even this lower figure requires some creative accounting, i.e., by excluding this financial year (and the abolition of 10p tax band) from the calculation.

    Meanwhile, the Conservatives have claimed that the true figure is £19,000, some £81,000 lower than the figure derived at by your reporter. Why, did your reporter fail to mention this difference of opinion? And precisely how did he arrive at the £100,000 figure in the first place? I’m sure the treasury would love to use his calculations. I can only assume that your journalist chose or decided to ignore the 0.5% rise in NIC; a clear misrepresentation of the truth

    I (and my accountant) look forward to your explanation and or workings out.



    The BBC’s answer –

    Dear Mr XXXX,

    Thanks for your e-mail regarding ‘BBC News at One’ broadcast on 25 November.

    Please accept our apologies for the long delay in replying. We know our
    correspondents appreciate a quick response and we’re sorry you’ve had to wait on this occasion.

    I understand you feel there were inaccuracies in our reporting of the Chancellor’s PBR where a correspondent claimed only those earning over £100,000 would lose out
    with future tax rises.

    I assure you that we’re committed to reporting news impartially,truthfully and without sensation. We endeavour to ensure all our correspondents are aware of this and we’d never intentionally mislead our audience.

    However I appreciate you feel the figures presented were incorrect and no mention was made of the difference of opinion with the Conservatives or a 0.5% increase in NIC. With this in mind I’d like to take this opportunity to assure you that I’ve
    recorded your comments onto our audience log. This is an internal daily report of audience feedback which is circulated to many BBC staff including senior management,
    producers and channel controllers.

    The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

    We’re committed to developing better links with you, our audience, to further enhance our understanding of your viewing and listening needs.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.


    Ciaran McConnell
    BBC Complaints

    Why did this non-response take so long???


  15. David Preiser (USA) says:

    firefoxx | 19.01.09 – 11:52 am |

    They also play a sneaky trick by announcing something nice and fluffy, like more money for new social services or kids centres, fund it for 1 year only, then remove the funding after that. We have to pay extra for year 2 onwards, or look cruel when we close it down.

    I assume you’re talking about things like this?

    Jobs could go under council cuts

    At least they let through the council leader’s blaming of under-funding from central government. But the whole thing is presented as gloom and doom for and by the council itself, with no hint that anyone else maybe suffering a similar fate for similar reasons. Other than “challenging times”, of course.

    Another issue, of course, is that all southern councils (except one) are Conservative or NOC. Labour hate that and, basically, screw us.

    Worcester isn’t South, but the council is Conservative. Hmmm.


  16. Tom says:

    Jonathan | 19.01.09 – 4:50 pm

    Why did this non-response take so long?

    It took so long because you had assembled such a compelling case that try as they might, they couldn’t come up with an answer to it.

    The thing to do now is to reply ASAP quoting the reference and saying you are not satisfied with the reply.

    This means they will have to escalate your complaint to the next level (senior editors).

    They too will issue a similarly weak response. Whatever they say, you should reply again in the same ‘not satisfied’ terms.

    If you do this, the case then goes to a formal Editorial Complaints tribunal and a formal finding is issued.

    You could leave it there…. or knock it back yet again. If you do, it goes to the supposedly independent trustees at the BBC Trust for adjudication.

    Shame to waste such a slam dunk complaint, so I urge you to persevere.

    One warning: they sometimes send you a reply from a ‘no-reply’ e-mail, hoping that will put you off doing what I suggest above.

    It may also leave you utterly foxed as how to proceed.

    You can go back to the original BBC complaints site and register your “I’m not satisfied ‘ there.

    Good luck


  17. Peter says:

    Jonathan | 19.01.09 – 4:50 pm
    Tom | 19.01.09 – 5:04 pm | #

    Two more eloquent posts on the farce that is the ‘we’re paid by you so we’re listening’ complaints ‘procedure’ it would be hard to find.

    As a fellow abusee, I am not sure that it’s much practical help, but it’s nice to know I am in good company, and Tom’s check list is a good one to add at the very beginning as things sally back and forth (and up?) in the vain hope someone, somewhere in Mordor Meets ‘Joe Vs. The Volcano’ might suddenly get a pang of guilt or simply wonder why they come in each day to ‘work’ on such dross when everybody is wise to it all.

    Makes you wonder why the Trust, or the government, or almost any MPs who represent the people of this country don’t ask a few questions, mind.


  18. Robert says:

    After reading Jonathan’s post, I think we can add “Kafka” to “Pravda” when throwing BBC-comparisons around


  19. moonbat nibbler says:

    Currently on the ticker:

    LATEST: Banking stocks close sharply lower, with RBS dropping 67%, despite the government’s latest rescue plan.

    Surely “despite” is a value judgment, I thought the BBC didn’t do that? Wouldn’t “because” be equally as valid? That visceral bias again.


  20. HSLD says:

    Isn’t it funny how when a council is threatening they’ll have to cut spending they always choose something popular like daycare centres for OAP’s instead of making a few £50k per annum ‘Inclusiveness Co-ordinators’ and ‘Diversity Outreach Managers’ redundant instead ?

    I wonder why the BBC never asks why this is ?


  21. MilkyWay says:

    moonbat nibbler

    there is no problem with use of the word ‘despite’ there. the govt had tried to introduce a bailout to ease the crisis, ie. they were responding to the crisis. so the use of ‘despite’ is perfectly logical. its not taking sides. the fact is that the govt is trying to ease the crisis, and it is also a fact that the govt has got a rescue plan. the debate is in whether the rescue plan is any good or not (its not) and the Beeb have been quite good today at saying that the first resuce plan failed, and that this one prob won’t work either. robby peston basically said as much on news 24 an hour or so ago


  22. moonbat nibbler says:


    The BBC ticker doesn’t talk about the crisis it talks specifically about bank shares. Its a perverse statement, the equivalent of saying:

    “Orange drinks were weaker, despite mother diluting them”.


  23. Grant says:

    There was a BBC classic on R4 World at One today. Martha Carney interviewing Vince and John Redwood . Martha tried several times to interrupt Redwood and then turned to Vince who said ” I agree with John Redwood “. Martha rendered speechless, just didn’t quite fit into the twisted BBC “worldview” !


  24. bodo says:

    Watching ITV news @ 6.30 – its hard to believe they’re reporting on the same story I saw covered on the Beeb @ 6.00

    BBC report looks like pure govt propaganda when compared to ITV.


  25. will says:

    Osborne on “Today” tried to put over the message that Brown’s bank regulatory system (in place for nearly 12 years) had failed. Humphrys was having none of it, talking over Osborne to ensure that the audience was aware that it was all Thatcher’s fault.


  26. archduke says:

    britain on the brink of going bankrupt

    well, at least Labour has form.

    thats what they did last time round…


  27. Original Robin says:


    I heard that bit this morning, was there a later bit asking a Labour minister why they didn`t change the banking rules in their 12 years of power ?
    (And if not could it be something to do with the EU ?)


  28. archduke says:

    Original Robin | 19.01.09 – 8:15 pm

    yes it is. Basle Banking Rules (?) – Eu Ref blog has some posts on it.

    i’ll try to dig up some links on it, but if you google you should find it.


  29. archduke says:

    Found it…

    these blogposts are WELL worth reading if you want to get the bigger picture on the current financial crisis in Britain

    Christopher Booker also wrote an article on it in the Telegraph:

    “The EUs role in our financial crisis”


  30. Gaz says:

    3.5% increase pa is perfectly reasonable.


  31. Jon says:

    Gaz | 19.01.09 – 9:14 pm |

    Oh that’s alright then – you can pay mine.

    “The Halifax recently published a study into the levels Council Tax rises over the last 10 years throughout Great Britain. This study showed that the Council Tax in the Conwy area had increased by 145% over the period.”


  32. Jon says:

    Or if you want it nationally, and put in perspective

    “For the period between June 1997 and June 2008 the council tax and rates increased by 95.9 per cent. Over the same period the RPI increased by 37.7 per cent.”

    So another 3.5% (which is just the average of 140 councils who responded) is nothing is it?

    For instance Liverpool’s Council Tax will rise by 4.5%

    You really must be careful when swallowing the BBCs “analysis”


  33. Dagobert says:

    In the 1930’s the average working class family paid 9% of their income in Rent and Rates. Now it is quite common for people, particularly pensioners, to pay up to 20% of their income in Council Tax alone. Of course, Mr. Brown’s banker friends in their multi-million pound houses pay well under 1% !! Has this country ever had a more morally bankrupt prime minister?


  34. Frankos says:

    Harold Wilson?


  35. Dagobert says:

    Harold Wilson had many faults but he did avoid joining America in the Vietnam war. Brown ardently suppported Blair’s wars and still sends young British men to die in Afganistan. Brown has no redeeming features whatsoever.


  36. Libertarian says:

    BBC to pay staff up to £8000 each as part of relocation package


  37. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Dagobert | 19.01.09 – 11:38 pm |

    Still, some of us appreciate the shared sacrifice of British troops to help us prevent another mass murder of our civilians. I’m sorry you don’t approve of that.


  38. TPO says:

    A straight lift from Guy Fawkes comments.
    Anonymous 10:28
    Methinks the BBC doesn’t have much longer before the license fee is officially consigned to the dustbin after the next election.
    Yeah. And don’t they act like they know it. No pretence at being even-handed.
    Don’t underestimate the power of the BBC. Labour and the BBC’s fate are now co-dependent. I’ll bore you again with how the BBC’s manipulation of the Brown Bank Bailout lead to the ‘Brown Bounce’. They beamed the news into millions of living rooms not as a failure of Gordon Browns government and economic policy but as a failure of Thatcherism.
    What should have been a thirty point Tory lead was reduced to practically nil.
    I don’t think Cameron full appreciates just what a powerful weapon of indoctrination and misinformation the BBC has been for NuLabour.
    January 19, 2009 10:35 PM

    I have a horrible feeling that it’s about to go belly up very soon and I still have 25 grand stuck in the UK.
    Pity though that Brown and the BBC won’t go through a Ceaucescu moment.


  39. TPO says:

    Everyone but everyone (sorry I exclude the BBC from that so it’s everyone bar NuLiebor BBC) recognise the disaster that awaits the UK economy and who untimately is to blame.
    The BBC website is however flagging this.

    UK inflation tipped for big fall

    This is their main story on their UK page and on their Business page.
    Meanwhile the preposterous Nick Robinson is trying to push the Tory Toff line on his blog.

    Does the BBC employ anyone who is not too dim-witted who can understand exactly what a rapid decline in inflation means at this point in time.


  40. Grant says:

    TPO 4:14

    You make a good point. Expect the introduction of exchanges controls pretty soon to prevent capital flight from the UK. If you have 25K in the UK, get it out pretty quick !


  41. Umbongo says:


    Exchange controls won’t be required when sterling finally goes down the toilet. To sell currency you need a buyer. Who would buy Zimbabwe dollars with or without exchange control?