I WAS struck by the article on the front page of your issue of July 14 headed "Give Poll Tax Gains to Poor Plea".
How can Margot Hutchinson say that the community charge will hurt the poor? The facts are that the poorest households in Britain will pay 25 per cent less towards the cost of local government under they community charge than they do at the moment under the rates.. The facts are that the rebate and income support system will help: one in four of the population to pay and is more generous than the rate rebate system which we have at the moment.
The facts are that, taking into account support from the taxpayer, the richest 10 per cent of householders will pay 15 times as much towards local government as the poorest 10 per cent. The facts are that four out of 10 households who live in homes with above average rateable values have less than average incomes, so the rates often hit hard those who are less able to pay.
In a society where lower taxation leaves people with more control of the money they earn, we should be more charitable and more generous. The Church should encourage us, as the Gospel demands.
John Selwyn Gummer MP Local Government Minister London SW1