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Democratic Deficit Taxation - Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations

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Sussex Express Supp 2004 »

The Democratic deficit – Taxation without Representation…

This year sees the 750 year anniversary of the Battle of Lewes, – the outcome of which is hailed as the birth of democracy in this country. It is ironic that this year the democratic defecit is being exploited just as it was by the Lewes Parking Scheme. Despite a District wide opinion survey that showed a majority of all political persuasions disapproved of the scheme, even in areas that would benefit from a reduction in the community charge.

Lewes District Council has separated open space management from the general community charge as ‘Special Expenses’. It proposes that each community will pay for the upkeep of its own’ spaces. On the assumption, it is assumed, that no one from outside any community ever visits or uses facilities in another.

As a result of this decision, everyone in Lewes is to be surcharged. It will average out at c.£47+ per household this year for the maintenance of the open spaces including the Railway Land and Landport Bottom. Alternative management regimes have not been discussed with residents.

The District Council has unilaterally decided that Lewes residents will be surcharged for the maintenance of ‘their’ open spaces, apparently some 15 in all. This additional tax has been proposed by an ‘inner’ cabinet of 5 Councillors from the majority party – no other parties are proportionally represented in the Cabinet.

Of the £706,000 Lewes residents will have to pay themselves, it should be noted that, as was the case with The Pells, part is made up of the salaries of some council officers. At this point, the finance department could not say what proportion. The net result for Lewes is that ‘taxation without representation’ is being introduced on the anniversary of the first Battle of Lewes. The American war of independence was fought on the grounds of no taxation without representation.

We need Tom Paine back to help in a second battle of Lewes to restore democracy so that we, through our own elected Councillors, can have any voice at a local level. It is perhaps high time councils regained the powers lost in 1972 if such political gerrymandering is to be resisted.

There is, of course, supposed to be a 2% cap on any community charge increase without a referendum. This proposal which is at least ten times greater an increase exploits a loop hole whereby if the average charge across the District as a whole is within the cap, then one group of citizens can be asked to pay more than the capped charge.

If you think it is unjust to impose a swingeing increase in the community charge, on one section of the population in the District without the affected community having any say in the matter, then there is an online petition which can be signed to request scrutiny of this proposal and a paper copy in the Town Hall : E. Alliott. Lewes News, March 2014, No 207

The Democratic Deficit Taxation Without Representation Lewes District Council

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