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The first months of the Community Charge


  • Michael Ridge
  • Stephen Smith


The introduction of the Community Charge - or 'poll tax' - in April this year brought the issue of local government finance to the forefront of British politics. The heated political controversy, and the radical nature of the reforms to local domestic and business taxation, have generated considerable academic analysis and comment, not only in Britain but also abroad. These have clarified many of the key issues in the reforms - the Government's objective of greater 'accountability' in local government, the effect of the new system on the tax levels required to finance local spending, the distributional incidence of the new tax, and the question of administrative cost. But comment in some of these areas has had to be speculative; in advance of experience, some key parameters have been uncertain, with few obvious precedents in either UK or overseas experience. In this paper we present some early evidence on the operation of the new system in practice, both to provide a commentary on the first months of the Community Charge, and to identify what can be learned from experience in the first year.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Ridge & Stephen Smith, 1990. "The first months of the Community Charge," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 11(3), pages 39-54, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:11:y:1990:i:3:p:39-54

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    Cited by:

    1. Besley, Timothy & Preston, Ian & Ridge, Michael, 1997. "Fiscal anarchy in the UK: Modelling poll tax noncompliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 137-152, May.

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