Danny Burns

Chapter 5: Sinking The Flagship

The aim of the Anti-Poll Tax campaign was to make the tax unworkable. If enough people refused to pay, then the Poll Tax couldn't be enforced. The courts would be blocked; the bailiffs would be turned away; wage arrestment would prove too complicated; and the final solution — prison — would prove politically disastrous for any Labour council (and in any case was unenforceable because there was no room for large numbers of non-payers in the prisons). The councils tried all of these enforcement measures but were persistently resisted by the Anti-Poll Tax Unions.

Chapter 1: A Hated Tax

The Poll Tax was a flat rate tax. It was not based on ability to pay. Everyone over eighteen was liable. Rich and poor paid the same. The millionaire paid the same as the toilet attendant. The lawyer paid the same as the shop assistant. The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her multi-millionaire husband paid the same as their gardener.

The tax, officially called the Community Charge, was dubbed the Poll Tax because of its similarity to a tax introduced in 1381. That tax was so disliked it provoked the peasants' revolt. The government tried to counter this analogy, but the name stuck.

Poll Tax Rebellion - Danny Burns

Full scanned version of the definitive grassroots history of the mass working class movement which defeated Margaret Thatcher's poll tax. 17 million people refused to pay the tax, which defeated it and brought Maggie's time as Prime Minister to a premature end.