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Has Labour hidden a “garden tax” that would increase Crawley council tax by over £3,000?

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A very short passage on page 86 within the Labour manifesto says that if a Labour government was in power then they would:

“initiate a review into reforming council tax and business rates and consider new options such as a land value tax”.

At present your council tax is calculated on the value of your property alone.  With this new proposal it would see the land value also taken into account.

What does this mean if true?

It means that Crawley residents could see a rise in their council tax of over £3,000.

Naturally the Conservatives have jumped straight onto this with Crawley candidate Henry Smith saying:

“Jeremy Corbyn wants to hit working families with a bombshell of new taxes to pay for his reckless hard-left giveaways – from hiking up inheritance tax to taxing gardens.”

According to the Tories, the IPPR has also branded a Land Value Tax a “tax on gardens”, which could force home owners to sell off their family gardens to lower their bills. They also warned town halls would be bribed into giving the green light for more development to get their hands on more cash, leading to a return to “garden grabbing” that was actively encouraged under John Prescott’s planning rules before 2010.

If this aptly named “Garden Tax” does turn out to be part of the agenda then it is no surprise that it is being kept very low key and could explain where Labour is getting a lot of its figures.

Labour Candidate Tim Lunnon commented back on the question:

“Page 86 of the Labour Manifesto proposes a review of all the options for local government funding, but doesn’t commit to any of the many different alternatives at this stage. The figures quoted by Henry Smith do not come from the Labour Party or any official source. Given the Conservatives’ failure to provide even basic figures on what their own manifesto will cost, it’s remarkable Henry Smith has the time to put together nonsense numbers condemning Labour for policies we haven’t proposed. That time would be better spent ensuring we can afford to keep our schools open and care for the elderly in their old age.”

BUT, what is very interesting is that the same idea is being banded around by other parties including the Lib Dems.

Lib Dems candidate Marko Scepanovic said:

“Whilst we are not ruling out a potential land tax it would act as a progressive replacement to council tax rather than a supplement to it.”

 

Let us know what you think.

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Business

BREAKING NEWS: Sainsbury’s to close Crawley town centre store

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It has been an historic part of the town centre for decades, but now the supermarket on Queensway is to close its doors with the potential loss of jobs.

Image: Google Street View

Sainsbury’s says it has made the difficult decision after announcing it would close up to 15 supermarkets a year ago, pre-covid.

Sources close to the Crawley supermarket say that staff began finding out the news yesterday.

The supermarket said they would work with their staff at the site to try to find alternative roles within the firm.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson speaking to Crawley News 24 said,

“We have updated colleagues on the difficult decision to close our Crawley store and we are doing everything we can to find alternative roles within Sainsbury’s for those affected.

“Customers can continue to shop with us online and at our nearby stores. For example, our West Green store is a short drive away.”

Whilst a date for the closure has not been announced, some sources say it could be as soon as January ’21.

Cllr Peter Smith Cabinet member for Planning and Economic said:

“I am sorry for the staff that will lose their jobs at this difficult time when most supermarkets are reporting improving profits.

We have had enquiries from other supermarkets looking for suitable sites who may recognise that there will shortly be an additional 2500 residential homes just a short walk away from this prestigious location. We will be doing all we can to help find a quality occupier as soon as we can.”

Crawley Councillor Francis Guidera said:

“It is tremendously saddening to read that one of the original major shops in the town centre is closing. A lot of housing provision is currently being created in the town centre area and there is an increasing, not decreasing need for food retailers in the town centre.

We haven’t even begun to knock down the administrative offices of the town hall which will be replaced by a huge apartment block, and they are still building the first apartment block on the former council car park as I type this! I genuinely hope that another food retailer grabs the huge opportunity to take on that store.”

The news comes just one after one of the most iconic town centre independent store, P&J Sweets also announced they were to close.

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