IN RESPONSE to the recent letter from AM Eleanor Burnham regarding the present, unfair, Council Tax system and the matter of using Wales as the re-banding guinea pig, most readers will surely agree in condemning the system of tax-assessment by house value.

It's very ironic that Wales, where those in work earn 15% less, on average, than in England (with average earnings of about £3,000 pa behind the UK figure) is chosen to bear the pain with this issue.

But Council Tax only meets part of local government financial requirements.

The main share of local government income comes from the annual settlement handed down to us in Wales by the Treasury in London and it is based on the out-moded Barnett formula.

This has a lot to do with recent attempts to increase local Council Tax.

Due to the lower earning situation, previously mentioned, a legacy of old, heavy industry and related illnesses - the hospital waiting lists scandal does not help in this regard - and closures and contractions in manufacturing jobs, Wales needs, and has a right to expect additional funding for its needs with health, retraining and affordable housing.

But the Treasury in London has not faced up to its responsibilities.

Other small nations in Europe, from Ireland to Scandinavia, are among the most prosperous in the EU but the London government's attitude seems to be that Wales is pre-destined to be poor.

Some of our much-needed Barnett money was used to make up a shortfall in Treasury match-funding for Europe Objective 1 aid - a large part of Wales having become one of Europe's poorest regions.

Barnett money also had to be diverted to pay for lessening hospital bed-blocking difficulties.

The unfairness in the annual Treasury settlement has a direct effect on local Council Tax levels.

Plaid Cymru - the Party of Wales believes a commission should be set up to examine how Wales is funded by the Treasury.

We must fight for fairer funding for Wales and we need a proper parliament as recommended by the Richards Commission with better representation for Wales in Europe to ensure full European funding.


Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales,