In a keynote speech to the Liberal Democrat Eastern Region Conference in Mildenhall, Suffolk, today, Liberal Democrat Leader Ming Campbell said:
“For all their mock outrage the Labour Party and the Tories remain close – far too close – on so many of the problems facing our country today.
“Council tax is a prime example.
“At this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Brown and Mr Cameron bellowed over who got there first on proposed changes to inheritance tax. But it fell to me – to the Liberal Democrats – to raise the issue of council tax.
“Council tax – the most underhand, unwanted, and unfair tax in Britain today. Thanks to this week’s spending review, funding for councils will now rise by just one percent.
“One percent – when paying for adult social care is rising by eight to fifteen percent each year. One percent – when it’s clear that this will force council taxes ever higher. And one percent – when we know – we know – that millions of pensioners and lower income families will struggle to pay higher tax bills.
“Council tax will rise by at least 5% next year alone. And by 2011 it will have risen by more than 120% since Labour came to power.
“Hitting hardest those who have least. It is high time we moved to fair local taxation based on the ability to pay.
“Let me make this prediction. At the next election, the unfairness of Britain’s council tax will be clearer than ever before.
“Our opponents will ignore it. They will pretend it doesn’t matter: but they do so at their peril. Because people are not stupid.
“Council tax is rising steadily to the top of the political debate. And without reform, Prime Minister, the council tax will be your poll tax.”