London council seeks new ‘guilt tax’ from millionaires

One of Britain’s wealthiest areas is trying out a new voluntary scheme of requesting millionaires for an additional contribution to their local council tax, which would raise additional funds for services in the area.

Westminster Council, in the heart of London, will write to nearly 15,000 of its wealthiest homeowners asking them to make a voluntary donation over and above the compulsory council tax.

Dubbed “guilt tax” by the media, the Westminster Community Contribution initiative is aimed at properties worth about 10 million pounds and above and follows a public consultation which found that 55 per cent of those owning properties worth millions backed the proposal.

“We are giving people the option. It is an opportunity to invest in their neighbourhood,” Councillor Nickie Aiken, leader of Westminster Council, told ‘The Sunday Times’.

The Conservative Party led council said if 30 people each contributed 800 pounds, it would pay for six volunteers to visit lonely people in their homes. Funds raised through the new scheme will go towards work placements for young people and help provide rough sleepers a bed.

Aiken said she had decided to tap the wealthy for donations because they have expressed a willingness to pay more council tax, which is a taxation system used in Britain to raise funds for local services based on the value of the properties inhabited by residents of the area.

Westminster Council’s new scheme comes as a number of local councils in the country struggle to raise enough funds to meet local needs and have been considering a council tax hike.

Many of the Westminster’s wealthy residents have expressed support for the idea, with businessman Stelio Stefanou saying it would give people the opportunity to “do the right thing”. PTI