Council tax

The London Library should leave us in peace

Reading only slightly between the lines of US foreign policy on Israel/Gaza, I detect that its most urgent aim is to get rid of Benjamin Netanyahu. The same goes for the Foreign Office and Lord Cameron. The shocking killing of the World Central Kitchen workers is being pressed into the service of this cause by London and Washington. Obviously there are lots of reasons – corruption accusations, alleged divisiveness, Anno Domini – why it might soon be time for the Israeli Prime Minister to depart, but why is that a decision for Israel’s western allies? Don’t we normally allow fellow democracies to make up their own minds who leads them,

How much do students drink?

Union booze Several universities have renamed freshers’ week ‘welcome week’ in an attempt to dissociate it from heavy drinking. How much do students drink? – A survey last year by the group Students Organising for Sustainability found that 81% regard drinking and getting drunk as part of university culture. – 53% reported drinking more than once a week. – 61% said they drink in their rooms or with other students before going out for the night to a pub or club. – 51% said that they thought getting drunk would ensure they had a good night out. – 13% said they took illegal drugs. Round the houses Councils are to

A proportional property tax would be a disaster

Two of the most unpopular taxes in Britain are stamp duty and council tax, property taxes both, seen as economically damaging and unfair. So it is not surprising there is a noisy campaign, gaining widespread coverage, to abolish them both and replace them with a simple ‘proportional property tax’. The more your home is worth, the more you pay — what could be fairer and simpler? Although well intentioned, this new property tax is a genuinely bad idea. To be revenue neutral for the Treasury, campaigners estimate it needs to be set at 0.48 per cent of the value of the property per year — so that someone with a £1