Ex-Mayor Livingstone Mayor Johnson

Remember the walnut whip tax?

Frankly I am brassed off this morning. Our Olympic ticket allocation came through by e-mail overnight. We got rowing and dressage. Maybe we should count our blessings but not getting into any venue in the Olympic park is going to make it feel like it is someone else’s Olympics. I know that lots of people, about a million, got no tickets so I maybe I should just shut up.

On the other hand Londoners have been paying for the Olympics since April 2006 through our council tax. The Olympics levy adds £20 to a band D council tax. It is set to run for 10 years and might be extended if there are over-runs in Olympic spending.

Famously Ken Livingstone likened the £20 a year levy as being the equivalent of a Walnut Whip or 38p every week. This was typically disingenuous of Livingstone. The average property in London isn’t Band D. Most people will be paying rather more, see below. The levy adds 6% to the GLA precept.

I will pay £333 for the Olympics and will have to go to Eton’s Dorney Lake rowing course, paid for by Eton College, and Greenwich to see any of it. The Olympic park I paid for will be out of bounds.

I look forward to hearing a pledge from Boris Johnson about when the Olympic levy will end and that the Mayor’s precept will be reduced by the full amount of the levy at that time. I am looking forward to a 6% reduction in the GLA precept. As the levy should end during the course of the next mayoral term we should be told as a part of the election campaign.

6 replies on “Remember the walnut whip tax?”

I didn’t get any tickets so will have to get up at 6am on Friday to scrabble around with the other million people to try to get tickets for something that’s left!



I know I sound ungrateful having been blessed by my betters with five tickets but who knows anyone who is going to one of the big three events: athletics, swimming or cycling in the Olympic park?


Didn’t the bulk of the choice tickets go to corporate sponsors? What a complete horlicks. We were all suckered into believing ordinary people would somehow be involved – seems that our involvement stretches only to paying for it.


You say that “The average property in London isn’t Band D. Most people will be paying rather more. ”

You are wrong on both counts. Of the 3.3M London properties, around 850,000 are Band D, with more than 1.4M in lower bands and around 1M in higher bands (see link for exact numbers).

It must be easy to imagine that most people live in as comfortable surroundings as you do, but they dont. Only 260,000 out of 3.3M are lucky to live in a Band G or H property – less than 8%.



Thank you for the reality check. You are right that Band D was more like the mid-point than I had assumed, across the country the midpoint is more like Band C.

In your 3rd paragraph where you move on from very useful facts to assertions you let yourself down. I know that I enjoy a comfortable life – the result of good luck and two people working hard for many years. I also know how a wide range of other people live. You cannot be a councillor for long without meeting a lot of people in a range of circumstances.

I have made the mistake of trying to personalise what I write – hopefully to make it more accessible and interesting. The bald fact is even Band A council tax payers have had £133 taken off them without any special favours when it comes to getting hold of tickets. By all means have a go at me. But accept please that the state has dictated that we will have an Olympics in London and that it will be paid for by the litttle people who won’t get to see it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s