The Community charge is a system of local taxation used in Great Britain for a brief period between 1987 –1990. It was popularly referred to as the ‘poll tax’ and was widely disliked for its perceived inequity.
The Community charge replaced the previous local tax system known as rates. The essence of the community charge was that people would pay a flat rate, whatever their income or place of residence.
The Community charge was introduced in Scotland in 1987, much to the annoyance of the Scots. It was introduced by Mrs Thatcher in 1988 but was widely unpopular and led to the poll tax riots of 1990.
As the community charge rose in value, it led to unprecedented levels of non payment (up to 30% in some areas)
Its unpopularity and Mrs Thatcher’s refusal to countenance an alternative led to her replacement of John Major as leader of the Conservative Party.