The Tory MP for Berwick. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, is a member of the House of Commons Public Accounts Select Committee. During a recent evidence session she stated that “Northumberland, my council, is concerned about its sustainability because we have a relatively low council tax base. It relies on my voters in North Northumberland who are reliable council tax payers.” This is an unjustified and inappropriate indictment of residents in the rest of the county and happens to be untrue.
The truth of the matter is that the rural areas of Northumberland (which includes the North, West and Central areas of our huge county) subsidise the urban South East. This is not a matter of “reliability” in making council tax payments; rather it is a matter of Council Tax bands, which are based on property values. Property values are, in the main, far lower in the South East than in the rural areas. Being reliable in paying your taxes does not necessarily correspond with the value of your property or even your income. The best example of that is Donald Trump, who has proudly told the entire world how clever he has been in avoiding taxes. Off shore tax havens and tax dodging by global companies are other examples.
It appears that residents in large parts of our county are entitled to a public apology for having our reputation damaged at a national level.