Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gordon's Council Tax Bombshell coming on June 1st (if he wins)

The Sunday Express is reporting on an interesting little tender process that has been going on which suggests that Gordon Brown is planning to whack everyone hard within a month of the General Election with a massive council tax hike.

The details of the tender for contract by HMRC can be viewed here which is looking for someone to set up a database to
"support a wide variety of valuation purposes undertaken by HMRC's executive agency, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), and specifically to improve the quality and accuracy of the Council Tax Lists in England and Wales.... The supply of service to commence by 1.6.2010, for a minimum period of 36 months."
Hilariously, Brown is trying to claim that he's all about aspiration and the middle classes now and that he's rejecting "class war" yet here we have, in pretty obvious terms, the beginning of a policy that will see hundreds of thousands of people screwed even harder by a revaluation of their property.

Just to put this in perspective for a second, when Council Tax was introduced in 1993, the average house price in the UK was £62,333 (1), by 2008 it was £227,765 (2). It has dropped slightly now, to £224,064 (3) in June 2009.

On the assumption that the banding is only changed slightly, the average house in England and Wales is likely to see itself shift into the top two bands. Apparently the Government's response to the disclosure of this tender and it's planning for June was to say,

“The Government has made it clear that a council tax revaluation in England will not take place during the lifetime of this Parliament.
Well considering this system is meant to be live in the next Parliament it's rather obvious what the intent is.

No more class war?

(1) Department of Communties and Local Government
(2) Department of Communties and Local Government
(3) BBC News

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