I thought this was interesting

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The Torygraph is not my usual reading as you may know.................. However...I thought the following article was very interesting I'm certainly not saying I agree with it all...far from it....but I certainly agree with some of it, especially about housing. Ten reasons to be optimistic about Britain in 2015 29 Dec 2014 Under 30? Bad luck. You're screwed 17 Nov 2014 Russell Brand has identified the failings of British politics 15 Dec 2014 Next, when people litter, fine them properly. £20 for your first offence. £200 for your next offence. £2,000 for every offence after that. If you can’t pay it, you can work it off in community service – picking up litter (see how easy this is). I guarantee that these measures will have the UK as tidy as Switzerland within a year. In fact, our country will probably look much like it did 40 years ago before we embarked on our great national experiment in treating everything green and pleasant as a bin. 2. Re-engage voters. I’d do this on two levels. First, I’d make it illegal not to vote. Yeah, yeah, I know you get the know-nothing “drongo vote” in countries like Australia, where voting is mandatory. But I also know plenty of wealthy, educated UK professionals who claim they “don’t have the time” to exercise a right that people routinely die for. Speaking of voting, I’d make the Lords a proper PR chamber rather than dogs’ dinner of random worthies and wealthy donors that it is today. On the donations front, we should also cap them at £1,000 and fund parties via tax. Next, I’d devolve as much as possible. Like most other countries do. Mayors for all. Proper councils. Even a federal UK sounds pretty good, in the wake of the Scottish referendum. It would also stop those endless “If Scotland and Wales have parliaments, should Northumberland and Cornwall have them too?” discussions. Finally, and just for fun, I’d only allow Prime Ministers one term. I’ve got two reasons for this. The first is that no-one actually votes for a PM. They’re merely the leader of the party whose MP you voted for. Secondly, and more importantly, I’d like to see them actually try and do more than just grimly hold on to power. I suppose here, David Cameron is a peculiar sort of role model. He knows that there’s every chance he’ll be a one-term PM, so he’s dismantling huge chunks of the state and flogging it off to his cronies at breakneck speed. 3. Council Tax. Dump it and replace it with a tax that reflects the value of the home. If the person in question owns more than two homes, double the tax for each extra house. Multiply it by five for any home that is empty over 80% of the year. Cities should be places their inhabitants can afford to live decently; most other global capitals recognise this and have tax regimes that discourage the foreign buy-to-leave investors that we seem so perversely eager to embrace. While we’re at it, I’d have businesses pay their local taxes directly to local councils (rather than central government) so that companies care more about the communities they operate in. 4. Pensions. Grasp the nettle and deal with the crisis rather than kicking the can down the road. Raise the retirement age to 70 tomorrow. For everyone including the police, the army and teachers; as they say, we’re all in this together. I know this is going to upset a lot of people. But they need to remember that their pensions were designed around a model where it was expected many of them to be dead by 70. Also, yes, having to work a bit longer sucks. But perhaps you could try explaining this to the 28-year old who stands no chance of retiring before 75, whose taxes will be funding many of today’s retirees’ pensions and whose own pension won’t be very generous. 5. Education. Sort out higher and lower education. Have children start school two years later, like so many child experts suggest. Like so many other European countries with better “educational outcomes” than us. Use the money saved to bring down the UK’s ridiculous childcare costs and to provide child-rearing education and assistance to members of the underclass. Yes, I know that some of you would rather these people didn’t have children they can’t afford. But you can’t legislate against it and personally I would rather spend a few hundred pounds helping toddlers than thousands of pounds incarcerating them as adults. Next, higher education. We pump out far too many graduates with pointless degrees. So let’s pay students to do the degrees we need – like computer science and engineering – and charge them £30k a year if they want to do 1970s cultural studies. I’d also reintroduce polys; some of our low-end unis are so bad that I can see the idea really catching on. And finally, I’d create proper standardised apprenticeships with real qualifications and get rid of the so-called “shelf-stacking apprenticeships” offered by places like supermarkets. 6. Transport. Triple the congestion charge and spend it on alternative transport. Roll it out to other large cities. Build proper cycling and walking infrastructure. Recognise that motorists cause a loss of amenity to everyone else – and that cyclists, pedestrians and train users (largely) do not. Recognise too that the car is the other half of the great obesity equation that everyone seems to forget. Finally, cost everything properly. If rail has to pay its way (as so many successive governments seem to think) then cars should pay the full cost of the misery, noise and pollution they inflict on others. 7. The Trident replacement. Cancel it, grow up and recognise that the nuclear club isn’t worth belonging to. Seriously, ask yourself: does Britain have more clout in the world than Germany? Than Japan? Than Brazil? None of these countries have nuclear weapons. Also, being a bit player in the nuclear game is pointless, especially as nobody’s really sure whether America would let us use them or not. So why not spend the money on our over-stretched conventional forces – which we do use and need – and which are increasingly unfit for purpose. 8. Drugs. Just legalise them now. Watch crime plummet. Watch your police forces suddenly go from overstretched to under-stretched. Watch public health improve and addiction rates fall. Well, assuming that the experiences of every single country that has experimented with legalisation are anything to go on. Of course, you’d need to strictly regulate them and sell them in a way that’s unenticing. But I’m pretty sure we can do this: buying government approved coke in a wrapper covered with health warnings is probably a lot less cool than speed-dialling a dealer who roars up on a motorbike at 2am. As a bonus, governments will no longer have to go through the annual charade of commissioning experts to write reports on drugs and then redacting half the report and sacking the experts when they tell them that criminalisation doesn’t work. 9. High-value jackpot machines. Ban them. The gambling industry likes to portray itself as James Bond playing blackjack. The reality is more like an obese person putting their minimum wage into one of these machines. People always joke that gambling is a tax on stupidity and sometimes it is. But it’s also a tax on the poor and their families who don’t gamble. So I’d regulate it more heavily, tax it even more heavily and curb its advertising even more heavily. Back to these machines though: in terms of addictiveness they’re often compared to crack cocaine but they’re also a bit like plastic bags. They’re an easy-to-deal with societal evil that we could eliminate tomorrow if we wanted to. 10. Reform housing. This is a big one and a hard one. But we all know the property owning democracy that Thatcher espoused is turning into an us-and-them nightmare, especially for the young. The biggest single solution is to build more. Stipulate a certain density (say that of decent Georgian terraces) for all new urban developments and build, build build. Use the tax system: hammer supermarkets and volume builders who sit on their landbanks. And free councils to be more creative with their fundraising for building. Why not? Many of them used to do it pretty well. Far better than the private sector does. By way of a sop to traditionalists, I wouldn’t build on the greenbelt. We don’t need to: our cities are not dense. Really, we just need to build. While we’re at it, I’d also regulate the rented sector properly. This is a topic for another day, but at the moment buy-to-letters have it both ways. If we’re to have a large rental sector, we need to regulate it properly – and that means beefing up the rights of tenants.
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Profile picture for user Moggy C

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UM... Council tax does reflect the value of the property. Moggy
Profile picture for user charliehunt

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Which is of course what's wrong with it!

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So............you try and stimulate a debate with an interesting article form a right wing uk newspaper. And what do you get.....glib comments. Try reading the whole paragraph...about second homes and the like.

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So why not spend the money on our over-stretched conventional forces – which we do use and need – and which are increasingly unfit for purpose.
Not as 'unfit-for-purpose' as soldiers who are seventy years old!

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...glib comments.
I know, sorry, but some of these ideas are little short of ridiculous! I'm not really clear about who you are quoting? The first few lines seem a little garbled.

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As stated...it was an article in today's Daily Telegraph with 10 suggestions to improve life in 2015.

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Not Russell Brand then?

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I can't believe that this tide of tosh came from the Daily Telegraph.

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Why would legalising drugs reduce crime? Apart from not having to arrest the drug dealers; and is that a 'crime' we want to see reduced? Drugs are cheap, apparently, so if they are controlled, regulated and subjected to the sort of hygiene standards that other (intravenously administered) 'medicines' are required to meet they'll be far more expensive... ...but just as addictive. If people need to steal to feed a 'cheap' drug habit.....they'll need to steal to feed a 'legal' drug habit! No? And, frankly, that's all the 'drug crime' that most people care about. And why would 'public health' improve? Is legal heroine better for you than illegal heroine? (Alcohol is legal; no health problems there then!) And if legal drugs are expensive (and possibly taxed) wouldn't a 'bootleg' drug trade flourish (like alcohol); 'cos that's what people are doing now anyway?
Profile picture for user charliehunt

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Nothing glib about the misunderstanding of what Council Tax is at all. Nor my comment on it. It was meant very seriously. As for the rest of the stuff you posted - most of it is hardly fare for intelligent debafe, is it? Nothing new in these regurgitated arguments which if not from Brand must be from a clone.

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I can't say that I'm particularly interested in anything Russell Brand has to say, on this or any other subject.

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Not Russell Brand.....I think?

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Nothing glib about the misunderstanding of what Council Tax is at all. Nor my comment on it. It was meant very seriously...
I think you miss the point; the Council Tax should be replaced with a tax to punish the rich... ...for the 'crime' of being rich enough to own two, or even three houses! (The implication from the article seems to be that 'the rich' haven't earned their wealth, and certainly don't deserve their wealth, so it is only right and proper that they should be punished by punitive taxes, on top of the relatively high taxes that they already pay!)
Profile picture for user charliehunt

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No. The OP's quote suggested dumping the council tax with a tax which represented the value of the property. Moggy rightly pointed out that that is exactly what Council Tax is. And I commented that that was what was wrong with it.

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Why do you say that is what is wrong with Council Tax; how would you levy it? (My previous post was tongue-in-cheek; I hope that came across.)
Profile picture for user charliehunt

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No it didn't - sorry hadn't realised.:( The Community Charge was the perfect local tax but ill thought out and poorly implemented. Individuals use local services, houses do not. Taxes on property make no logical sense.

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Logical? Taxes on property, no. Taxes on wealth, inevitable! Any 'poll tax' is political suicide but surely no 'flat rate' personal tax is even feasible?
Profile picture for user J Boyle

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If everyone works until 70...won't that limit the creation of jobs for young people? The Trident idea sounds sound...it's awfully expensive so the UK can look like a world military player when it doesn't have enough conventional forces. The housing and transport ideas sound like they were written by the same guy who designed those ghastly public housing hi-rises in the 60s...and who think that only high ranking party members, footballers, pop stars and pseudo-celebrities should own cars. I think that private transport should be available to all (and remember, not everyone lives in central London), not just those who can pay artificially high taxes and fees. Since Mr. Brand is wealthy, he'll have no problem paying. "I'm alright, Jack". Drugs...who knows? But with greater availability (and would they be free? otherwise won't people still steal to buy them?) you might end up with more users. Funny no comment on the UK young-people drinking problem.
Profile picture for user charliehunt

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For the sake of clarity Alex Proud, a Telegraph columnist and art gallery owner offered these 10 suggestions. Tax on wealth inevitable? Yes, probably in a country as mealy mouthed and envious as this seems to be. But that's not a "local" tax and should not be confused as such.

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Local or national, tax is tax, and generally the guiding principal is to tax at a level that the 'market will bear' or, in this case, what the individual can afford; property is just an obvious indicator of wealth. Council Tax, Income Tax, Stamp Duty and Inheritance Tax are all designed to take more from those that can 'afford it' and less from those that can't.