Paying taxes is “frivolous” according to Liverpool Labour Party


Your four Lib Dem councillors believe that we should collect every penny in tax for both central and local government that is due. Only the Labour Party in Liverpool would say that motions designed to achieve this were frivolous

At Wednesday’s Audit and Governance Committee the Lib Dem Deputy Leader Cllr Andrew Makinson moved two motions to ensure that both central and local government get their taxes in from people and landlords in Liverpool..

The first referred to recent revelations that some councillors have not been paying their Council Tax on time and may have voted illegally at council tax setting meetings. Cllr Makinson said, “Councillors must be above suspicion. We cannot set a tax level and then not pay our bills. Councillors above all must know that there are ways to get help if people have financial difficulties. They must use and test those systems and must never put themselves in a position where they vote illegally”.

The second relates to taxes not being paid by private landlords. In recent enquiries conducted in the London Borough of Newham and by other councils large numbers of landlords were found who were not declaring their income to the tax officials. “This is wrong”, Cllr Makinson said, “Good private landlords pay all taxes and work properly to provide a good safe service to their tenants. But we suspect that there is in Liverpool as elsewhere a considerable proportion who do not licence their premises with the Council and do not declare their profits to HMRC”.

And what was the Labour response to these motions? Did they support them? Did they try to improve them? No, they voted against both of them on the grounds that they were frivolous. What a surprise. That is the way that Labour both locally and nationally have always treaded taxation. You can see that best with Labour Councillors not paying the council tax they demand off others. But in Liverpool perhaps the relationships with iffy private landlords is even more sinister.

We have seen over the past 2 years how the Council has helped to ramp up the dodgy investment in the housing market in Liverpool. Appearing on platforms in the UK and overseas with little understanding of the people they were working their presence led to confidence in developments that was always overstated. Charitably, they may have been duped by the developers. Whether by an act of commission or omission on the Council’s behalf private investors from around the globe have lost up to £70 million and the good name of our city has been tarnished.

As Andrew Makinson pointed out good landlords register for tax and get licensed because they are responsible. Dodgy landlords try and avoid tax; don’t licence their properties and in extremis, by not looking after their tenancies, cause death by danger or death and poor health by poor conditions. Which landlords do Labour instinctively side with? Of course, the dodgy ones!

We have, of course, seen all this before. Militant encouraged people not to pay tax in the 80s and we spent two decades trying to get taxes in that were due. Instead they borrowed money at extortionate interest rates from Swiss banks and that too took more than 2 decades to get right. Increasingly Labour is under the cosh of Militant look alikes, Momentum. That’s why we will see more and more daft decisions from this Labour controlled council.

Motions to ensure that central and local government get in the taxes that they are due is never frivolous. Taxes are what we pay to ensure that the Government can spend money on the common good. Most people accept that and see their taxes as a price worth paying, providing of course that they are not wasted. Only the irresponsible would fail to support well thought through motions designed to increase our tax and service charge take as a council.

Well it is always easier to posture and attack the Government than  actually do something positive to raise more of the money locally using the powers that we as a council have.

The two motions are reproduced below:

Payment of Council Tax

Council notes with concern the recent media coverage in respect of none or late payment of Council Tax by Councillors. Whilst recognising that Councillors have the same problems as any other citizen of the City we have a duty to set a good example to all tax-payers to pay Council Tax on time. Council therefore undertakes to continue to offer the opportunity to all Councillors to voluntarily agree the deduction of Council Tax at source from their Councillor’s allowances to ensure that such problems are not repeated.”

Private Landlords, Planning permission and payment of tax

Council notes that in a recent exercise conducted by HMRC and the Council in Newham it was found that up to half of all private landlords registered in the Borough appeared not to be declaring their income to the tax authorities. Council therefore requests the City Mayor to –

  1. continue to assist HMRC in their ongoing campaign to ensure private landlords pay their fair rate of tax and actively use enforcement powers to crack down on poor quality landlords;
  2. subject to feasibility and compatibility with Data Protection and Investigatory Powers legislation, Officers be requested to review all buy to let mortgages registered with the Land Registry with a view to ensuring that all landlords are properly registered and their properties checked for safety and other requirements; and
  3. submit a report to the relevant Select Committee outlining the procedures for assessing properties using the student discount, the frequency with which checks are carried out and whether any other measure can be taken by Council or by Government in ensuring that this is legitimately used.”


About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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