Council Tax Revaluations put on hold

The Government have pledged not to revalue properties for Council Tax during this Parliament. We reported in July last year that the VOA (Valuation Office Agency) would be reassessing properties in England, also taking into account aspects of the property like scenic views, proximity to parks and “peacefulness”. (Click here to read that article.) A Labour party spokesman said that “This is a cynical and misleading manipulation of facts”, as Labour had already said it was postponing the revaluations.

Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, made the announcement, and said that families in properties which are moved up one band from D to E would face a council tax rise averaging about £320 a year. He also revealed that an independent review of the VOA would take place, which he said would “rein in intrusive snooping” by limiting the data gathered and stored about people’s homes.

Emma Boon of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which campaigns for lower taxes, said families would be relieved that their houses were no longer at risk of re-banding. “Council tax has doubled in the last 10 years whilst many services have been scaled back. It’s time council tax was cut”.

England’s Council tax bands are based on valuations of property in 1991. A reassessment of Council Tax bands has already taken place in Wales in 2005, where a third of properties went up a band, and only 8% went down. The Scottish Parliament is not planning any reassessment, and Northern Ireland was done in 2005.

As one of our Chartered Surveyors cynically commented “This has probably more to do with the necessity for Government to limit public spending and therefore saving the costs of carrying out the actual revaluation and any subsequent appeals as well as avoiding the unpopularity that the recent revaluation in Wales generated, than any other political decision.”

To read our explanatory article about Council Tax, click here.

24th September 2010