COUNCIL tax in Ryedale should drop. That's the proposal to be put before the district council this week.

With tax demands being frozen and inflation running at 2.7 per cent, it would mean tax bills in the district would fall in 2007.

But the motion must first be approved by a majority of councillors, and even then will only call for a council tax freeze to be "considered".

The proposal reads: "This council deplores the unfair nature of the council tax, the main fault being that it has a much larger impact on the poor and those on low fixed incomes. Ryedale District Council therefore resolves to: call upon the Government to use a fairer system for funding local government; reduce the ever-increasing gap between these on high incomes and the lower paid; consider keeping the 2007/8 council tax increase down to zero, by reducing those areas that are either luxuries or do not benefit the poorer members of Ryedale directly."

It will be moved by Liberal Party councillor John Clark, who represents Cropton.

Coun Clark told The Press: "There are enough luxuries in our spending to cut out inflation.

"We can make savings without cutting services. At least if we agree to aim for a zero per cent change, it will get us thinking about ways to achieve it. It will certainly be better than just assuming the standard inflationary increase.

"For example, Ryedale District Council spends £300,000 a year supporting tourism, so we have the low-paid workers in that industry essentially paying tax to the companies they work for.

"The council has a chauffeur-driven car for the chairman. It is only a Rover, but is it really necessary?

"Councillors are given drinks after council meetings, and the other day there was a wine and canaps evening.

"If a particular council service specifically benefits the poor it must be sacrosanct - but otherwise, it is not essential and could be cut.

"Council tax is regressive. It hits the poor harder than the well-off. If you earn more than £50,000 a year it takes you until lunchtime on the first working day of the month to pay your council tax. If you are on the minimum wage it takes you until Wednesday lunchtime. If you are on the basic state pension it takes you an entire week to pay it."

Last year, Ryedale increased its council tax take by 2.5 per cent, lower than York, Hambleton and Selby.

A majority of Ryedale's 30 councillors must vote in favour of the motion at a meeting on Thursday for it to become official council policy.