This tax in my opinion is unsustainable. It has to be one of the most unfair taxes ever invented and almost as bad as the poll tax it replaced. It is particularly unfair to pensioners and those on fixed incomes. Since Labour came to power council tax has more than doubled with no improvements to the services we are getting. Our council was buoyant in claiming our increase of 2.9% was lowest in West Mids but they had a few days earlier increased charges for meals on wheels by 30%. Our opposition parties never effectively spoke out against the budget and when it came to the vote none of them voted against it. Liberal Democrats have the right idea with a local income tax. With the current atmosphere of political parties pinching each others ideas, how about it Alistair! Pinch this one. We are seeing inflation running at its highest level for 15yrs. Pension increases are based on last years inflation numbers. Petrol, fuel, and food prices are going through the roof. Sandwell residents and particularly pensioners are in effect getting poorer. What are we doing about it? It is time for a change. In Sandwell I think we should be campaigning for an elected Mayor who should be paid by results. Part of his/her brief should be to radically reorganise Sandwell from top to bottom with a brief to reduce council tax year on year without falling standards. It could be done with some lateral thinking. Labour partly has it right in planning longer term budgets but they all lack the will to radically improve things. It is not a bad idea to have the chief of police elected along with other senior officials. It works well in local government in the states, why not here?