Margaret Thatcher was urged to make homeless people pay poll tax by senior cabinet minister

Greed: Margaret Thatcher’s imposition of poll tax led to riots across the country – and eventually her resignation [Image: PA].

Greed: Margaret Thatcher’s imposition of the Poll Tax led to riots across the country – and eventually her resignation [Image: PA].

Obviously Peter Walker was scum and the Poll Tax was a disaster – but worse people than him are running the Conservative Government now.

The idea of charging homeless people a tax on property is clearly ridiculous but that wasn’t the point Walker was trying to make.

He wanted to ensure that every last penny was squeezed from the poorest people, in order to support Conservatives and Tory voters who no doubt needed the money to clean the moat in their duck pond or suchlike.

The trouble is, people have been softened up over the years since the Poll Tax.

They believed the dribble that the UK has been through an economic crisis.

They believed the rubbish that it was caused by Labour overspending and not bankers’ greed.

So they may well believe it if David Cameron tells them he needs their money for some newly-imagined get-richer-quick scheme to help him and his sub-human pals.

A senior cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher lobbied her to prevent the homeless being given an exemption from the poll tax because he believed it would encourage people to sleep rough to avoid the charge.

The tax, designed to replace the rates system of property tax with a flat-rate levy to fund local authorities, proved politically catastrophic when it was introduced in 1990, sparking riots and eventually leading to Mrs Thatcher’s resignation.

But documents released at The National Archives show how determined ministers were to ensure nobody escaped paying the tax, officially known as the Community Charge, as its details were finalised.

A memo from the then Welsh Secretary Peter Walker to Mrs Thatcher in 1988 complained that plans to exempt the homeless would create an “enormous loophole” and result in people sleeping on the streets as a method of ducking payment. The tax was to be offered at a discounted rate of 20 per cent to those sleeping in hostels.

The exemption, Mr Walker wrote, “would put an enormous loophole into the system and would be abused. Moreover, it would act as an incentive for people to sleep rough … to make sure that they escaped having to pay at least 20 per cent of the charge.

“While I appreciate that in practice it is highly unlikely that local authorities would be able either to track down people who sleep rough or to get any payment of the charge from them, a specific exemption could be seen as encouraging them to sleep on the street, rather than in a hostel.”

Source: Margaret Thatcher was urged to make homeless people pay poll tax by senior cabinet minister | UK Politics | News | The Independent

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8 thoughts on “Margaret Thatcher was urged to make homeless people pay poll tax by senior cabinet minister

  1. amnesiaclinic

    There is a parallel today in councils imposing fines on homeless people sleeping in city centres – ridiculous sums of £1000.
    Now, the obvious thought of anyone human and compassionate would be to solve the housing crisis and put strategies in place to support homeless people and get them off the streets. Did that occur to Thatcher or any of the cabinet? There are some very good examples in America, Utah being the most famous where they offer the homeless homes and then sort out the problems which caused the homelessness in the first place.
    Result – costs to the city go down and people start to lead happy, fulfilling lives again.
    Not exactly rocket science!

  2. mohandeer

    The real purpose of the Community Tax was an even more disgusting attack on the poorest. Many Asian families used to knock through the walls in terraced housing and the family had extra sleeping space in the rafters and others would utilize the garage as an extra room, I used to live down such streets. Thatcher’s way, meant that all the household were accounted for and could be taxed, regardless of where they were living. The Tories were actually targeting the Asian immigrants, not satisfied with trying to limit the immigration to 250,000 per year, supposedly irrespective of what their nationality or colour was. The Tories are still Islamaphobic, which is why they wrote letters to the Imams when we had a problem with hate preachers and IS supporters. I wonder how many times they wrote to Bishops and Rabbi’s when things were askew in their respective diocese, none of course. Anyone who is poor, Muslim, disabled or mentally handicapped, single parent or jobless has no worth and are labelled “shirkers” “spongers” “workshy” or just a drain on resources, they really are awful sub humans – I speak of the Tories not the unfortunates.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Oh, the Poll Tax was an attack on immigrants, was it?
      Tell that to all the low-income workers and people on benefits, of any ethnic origin, across the UK, who suddenly found themselves being asked to pay a huge increase in their local services tax to subsidise a cut in taxes for the very, very rich!
      By asking everyone to pay a flat-rate charge, the Tories were getting the poor to subsidise the rich. They were targeting the poor, irrespective of race.

  3. Malcolm MacINTYRE-READ

    I had to deal with Peter Walker for his 3 years as Welsh Sick of State, while my elder bros had known of his activities in the City. Bros warned me that he was a slimy bugger, and that is what I found to be the case.

    He (PW, not bros) supported quangos whose only interest was to take over every NFP org that could build a bigger empire, but with no empathy with or understanding of the reality of what the SMEs they served faced every day.

    Same old, same old.

Comments are closed.