Thursday, January 25, 2007

Council Tax cashback. Convenient spin?

When I saw the news this morning that Martin Lewis, the financial journalist, ex-Lib Dem, former LSE Student Union president, former BBC man, and "not a Tory" was saying that we might all be owed rebates on Council Tax due to 1991 valuation mistakes by the Tories, the cynic in me drove to the surface.

Everyone knows that the vaulation of property is about to reviewed, and it as generally considered accurate opinion that revaluation will increase council tax for a vast numebr of people simply because of market price inflation.

How convenient therefore to suggest everyone may be entitled to a rebate of a grand or so (because of the Tories no less!) just before we all experience the yearly Council Tax rise and then revaluation on top?


Anonymous said...

Good to see you taking time out from dashing around your treasure island, Dizzy. Along with your penchant for carrying random object d'art, centre-right political commentary was among your talents?

Anonymous said...

I'm a regular subscriber to Martin Lewis' money-saving website, and read his latest advice about the council tax cashback campaign. I feel I have to take issue with you about your statement that he has blamed the 1991 valuation mistakes on the Tories. Actually he doesn't make any outright accusations about "The Tories" at all. And being true-blue myself, I'm usually on the alert for this kind of thing. Maybe, like most of his readers, I'm more interested in how I can save money than in the political angle, or the "blame-game"! I suppose if you were feeling bitter and twisted enough then you could read some implied criticism of the Tories in there; but what he actually says, is that the cock-up over the banding of properties was due to the haste in which it was introduced, resulting in a rather rushed contracting-out of the valuation part to estate agents who merely did drive-bys to assess the banding in the limited time avaliable. As he doesn't mention the Tories by name, then the casual (non-political) reader would not immediately make this connection anyway. To be fair to Martin Lewis, I generally find him to be politically neutral, rather than using his money-saving wheezes as a forum for his own political views (of which I was blissfully unaware until now)& which would be easy for him to do with his huge readership.

dizzy said...

The quote I read in the paper metnioned the Tories.

Anonymous said...

glad you always believe what you read in the papers, always a good thing for a free thinker to do.

dizzy said...

I don't always beleive what I read in the papers. It was a quote from him that I read in the paper. If it wasn't him then I guess that's libvel and we shall hear about the writ soon?

I stand by the point I was making regarding the convenient timing of everyone possibly being entitled to a rebate just as revaluation and hikes loom their head.

Unknown said...

How exciting to be part of a conspiracy, I only wish someone had told me!

Actually I did say the comment re the Tories. Let me give you roughly what it is (i said it a few times as you do when doing scores of interviews), "Back in 1991 the tories were in a rush to get rid of the disasterous poll tax in order to get the council tax up and running. This led to second gear valuations... " which i then explained and then I continued, "this wouldn't have been so bad if the scheme had been revalued after five years, yet even now the government choose not to revalue and we're left in the mire."

Frankly I hadn't even considered the political element of this - for me this is a MoneySaving story (just the same as bank charge reclaiming). If you ask me all politicians are culpable for not having the backbone to take the hit and either sort out the ridiculous mire we're in with a 14 year outdated valuation or change the system entirely.

The timing of it is quite deliberately before the rebanding though - yet not for the reason you think. My worry was that once the rebanding is announced (i have no prior knowledge but Im guessing its due) the ability to reband and get back dated payouts may be hampered. My political agenda is very much small not big P, and focused on saving people money (the clue's in m'title).

Nice to see my old student politics days aren't forgotten though.... just wondering where you found the info?

Kind regards

And aren't Google Alerts wonderful for pointing you to the strangest sites.

Martin Lewis

dizzy said...

That's me told.