Leeds nostalgia: 1991: the year of the Poll Tax riots

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Hoffman / Rex Features ( 169849c )
Rioters and riot police in Trafalgar Square
Anti Poll Tax Demonstration, London, Britain - 1990
Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Hoffman / Rex Features ( 169849c ) Rioters and riot police in Trafalgar Square Anti Poll Tax Demonstration, London, Britain - 1990
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This was the year of the Poll Tax riots, with demonstrations across the country, including many in Leeds.

The hated tax, which replaced the old rates, was introduced by Margaret Thatcher and was meant to be a fairer way of local taxation but it left many larger families vastly out of pocket, because it was a tax on people, rather than property.

Unwilling to bend to the masses, politicians did all they could to keep the tax in place. Tory Party chairman Kenneth Baker met with his top advisers to see what could be done, after 18 Tory councillors resigned over the debacle, although Tory councillors in Leeds remained loyal to the Government, with deputy leader Coun Keith Loudon, defending the tax.

In Westminster, some cabinet members voiced disquiet and Norman Tebbit was forced to intervene after rebellious Michael Heseltine said he might stand as leader if Mrs Thatcher were to leave, a spat which prompted Mrs T to issue a statement, saying she wasn’t going anywhere.

That was broadly true. She wasn’t, at least not until November of that year, when she finally stepped down, largely as a result of the failed tax system.

Skipton, 27th August 1980

Mr. Lambert Alderson, 62, of Alexandra Terrace, Skipton seen withhis colleagues Mr. Arnold Beck, left, and Mr. Marc Symes, right, won a �50 bonus from Craven District Council for the care he had taken collecting refuse.

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