Friday, May 23, 2008

EnviroMall Week

the Exchange Ilford2nd – 8th June 2008
The Exchange Mall, Ilford

The Mall in Ilford is having an environment week to raise awareness of environmental issues across shoppers, retailers, employees and suppliers and to promote their work in this field. The objective is to engage with the community and local businesses.

Unlike a High Street a Mall is a bit like a block of flats where the residents are all obliged to pay a service charge for the general upkeep of the property and, if any, it’s gardens. So, the Mall management can insist that environmental issues are taken seriously by their tenants and provide the infrastructure for them to do so. This one has a good record but they are going further. Their commitments are:

• Cut CO2 emissions by 63% by 2010
• Use 50% energy by 2012
• 85% of waste recycled
• 0% waste going to landfill by 2012
• 20% of power from renewable energy sources by 2012

Of course it is the absence of such a framework in our High Streets that is party responsible for their decline. There is a disconnect between the rates those businesses pay and the services that are provided in return. The money just goes into the black hole of central government and the local authority is expected to manage. It is also the inability of local authorities, through national legislation, to enforce any discipline or manage the range and type of outlets and how those businesses operate.


  1. This is a massively interesting article.
    I had heard about businesses in the High Street not participating directly to the revenue of the boroughs and it seemed ludicrous.
    Some of you may be aware that my motivation is fairness to the allotments and that keeps me busy but I think somebody should get organised and get some sense in the rules and regulations limiting the council income.
    One other stupid (if I may) rule (amongst other stupid rules I am sure) is that if you extend your property massively, you don't get into a higher council band until you sell. How ridiculous is that? How unfair to your neighbours!

  2. Why should you pay more council tax for a bigger house?

    The only fair rate is a poll tax!

    (stands back, puts on body armour, waits for incoming fire ....)

  3. The words "fair" and "tax" should never be used in the same sentence.

    What are you proposing? A flat rate or a variable rate based on an as yet undisclosed criteria?

    And how do you propose to prevent people slipping through the net?

  4. Nobody would want to argue with Judith but could I make my case, please?
    If council tax is based on the valuation of your house and if, when you extend the house, you, hopefully, increase its value, the house should be put in the right band immediately.
    (Not sour grapes, but this was the case when we extended our living space in the eighties and we were hammered so the law must have changed at some point.)
    People on a low income are most certainly unlikely to extend their property and they would not be affected.
    Was the poll tax based on your declared income or was it flat rate for every adult registered at the address. (That would be very unfair!)

  5. Anne,
    People on low income are unlikely to have a property in the first place, but you raise, if obliquely, a good point.

    "flat rate for every adult registered". My question is why would anyone "register" to pay tax voluntarily?

  6. Curioser and curioser!

  7. All properties that are modified are subject to the revaluation process. Depending on the original valuation and council tax banding, however, and the size and value of any extension, the revised valuation might not necessarily place it in a higher tax band.

  8. Can we make "modifications" that place us in a lower tax band?

  9. Yes - if, for example, your property (remembering that the system is currently based on 1991 values) is only just above the lower level of the band values, then a reduction in the size of the property might bring its resulting value below the lower threshhold for that value rsulting in a reduction in banding. Rare, but possible.

  10. With great respect, the explanation Morris gives is at odds with the council tax valuation web-site which states that VOA cannot reband a property unless it changes hands or if a long lease is arranged. (No mention of perhaps not getting into the next band, whether higher or lower.)
    Trawling through the web-site for valuations in my road shows that the system of coding is erratic, to say the least!
    With technology, a must more accurate system could easily be devised.

  11. The URL link to that site would be nice, Anne.

    then look for Band review pending indicator

  13. I'd go for flat rate per capita, inevitably fixed by Local Authority. As Anne has shown, taxation based on property is a disaster.

    Proof of payment entitles you to Local Authority services - education, rubbish collection, libraries, social services etc, which means you don't have to prove you've paid to benefit from road-sweeping, police and fire services etc.

    Will there be loopholes, yes of course, but then systems aren't perfect; keep systems simple and it is less trouble to pay up and get the benefit - make them complex and it pays to find methods of evasion.

    If two people live in a 5-bedroom house with three reception rooms, do they use more council services than two people living in a 2-bedroom, 1 reception room home? No.

    If seven people live in a 5-bedroom home, charge them per capita. If you haven't registered granny for local tax purposes, then you don't get a blue badge for her, she can't get talking books from the library and so on because she's been evading tax.

    Isn't there some phrase about taxation should be fair, just and comprehensible?

  14. Tut, tut, Judith.

    Council tax may be unfair but I don’t see how it is complex.
    Houses [or flats] don’t move around, you can’t disguise the fact that it’s there and which borough it is in. Somebody must own it and have responsibility for it and they are easily identifiable.

    Things that move around, like cars, are a problem even with a complex system of number plates. Just think of the abuse that goes on here. Have you considered that “Poll Tax” is an argument for ID cards and the National Database?

    You only need one person registered at an address to get the rubbish collected and for any children living there to be eligible for schooling. Then there are communal bins in blocks of flats.
    I can use the libraries where I work [and stand for Council] without paying that Borough any Tax.
    Etc etc.

  15. Had a look at how homes are valued for tax liability? Simple, fair? Not.

    And no, you wouldn't need ID cards - essentially, a 'poll' tax is an individual buying services, for which you get a receipt, which can be in the form of a plastic card; just like you get from whichever Emergency service you may have if you are a car driver.

    You don't sign up and pay, you don't get a service, sooner or later most people would pay.

  16. I would say that Barkingside 21 is giving fuel to Judith's argument.The system in use is totally unfair. A few suckers pay, the rest enjoys!
    Now, it's my turn to look for disguise!
    However, I have no problem with being tut-tutted!
    And thinking that Judith was modest enough to say that she realised that her idea was not fool proof.

  17. OK Judith, let’s explore it a little further.

    If I pay a private contractor to collect my rubbish, send my kids to private school, buy my books, pay for private health care etc. then there will be no incentive for me to sign up. There’s no sooner or later, I just wouldn’t pay. The marginal cost or cost/benefit would not stack up.

    However, I would still benefit from others [mostly those who could not afford to do what I’m doing but some who choose not to] paying for the upkeep of the roads, cleaning, lighting and the emergency services etc.

    Do people pay tax for what they personally receive back in return? Do they pay it for the general public good or health of the community? Or do they pay it because, and only when, they have no choice?

    Would you trust the State to implement such a scheme without turning it into a bureaucratic nightmare or extending the use of your “plastic [ID] card” to other uses of control and surveillance, like carbon credits?