Margaret Thatcher repeatedly failed to comply with poll tax laws, new documents show

Thatcher's 11-year tenure as prime minister ended in 1990

The poll tax was perhaps Margaret Thatcher's most notorious policy

Friday, December 30, 2016

A new tranche of documents released by the National Archive reveal Margaret Thatcher was warned about her failure to register for the poll tax - the most notorious policy introduced during her 11-reign as Prime Minister.

The poll tax, offically known as the Community Charge, was a levy imposed on Britain between 1989 and 1990 which caused widespread fury because it was applied at a flat rate, taking no account of an individual's income or personal circumstances.

Thatcher pushed the tax through despite fierce opposition in her cabinet and the riots that ensued from the new tariff are widely credited with bringing down her government.

Yet despite her own fervent support for the poll tax, the new documents suggest that Thatcher and her husband Denis failed to fill out several registration forms that were sent to them, prompting Westminster City Council registration officer David Hopkins to send them a warning.

In a letter dated May 22, 1989, he wrote to the prime minister and her husband: “My records show that the Community Charge Registration form recently sent to you has not been returned.

“I wish to advise that you are required by law to supply the relevant information within 21 days of this request and failure to do so may lead to a penalty being imposed.”

The prime minister eventually filled out the form, but only after she realised she had been sent the wrong document in a mix-up and had to hastily order a new one.

The tranche of official documents released today also reveals Thatcher had deep misgivings over the reunification of Germany, which followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and one of her aides told her that black people give cannabis to babies.

She was also deeply suspicious of acid house, the drug-induced rave music which swept the nation in 1989 and sparked what has become known as 'the second summer of love.'