Monday, 2 February 2009
Barnet Council and the spirit of Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels once said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Whilst, of course, Barnet Council is not run by Nazi sympathising fascists, someone has clearly made a conscious decision to keep peddling the lie that the council tax increase for 2009/10 is less than the rate of inflation - as measured according to the Retail Price Index - when this is simply untrue.
Our council tax is set to rise by 2.81%. The current RPI is 0.9% meaning that the proposed tax rise is more than three times the rate of inflation.
Cllr Matthew Offord went as far as to suggest that because the increase was lower than inflation it was actually a cut!
The council can keep spinning this tale that the rise is less than inflation for as long as it likes, but the public are not stupid and won’t be fooled. They don’t need a government index to tell them how much prices are rising or falling. They know by the amount of money it costs to put food on the table, heat their homes or fill the car up with petrol. Pensioners know how often they have to dip into their savings - and for them, any increase at all in council tax will be especially painful given the collapse in their savings rates.
The tax rise will take effect from April. It is always possible that the RPI could increase by 2% in the next 3 months, but most respected economists think that inflation will continue to fall, with deflation a very real possibility.
Rather than continue with this lie, why doesn’t Barnet Council take a leaf out of Hammersmith and Fulham’s book and actually reduce council tax by 3%?