Room with a view will cost more in council tax

Greenwich Conservatives this week criticised the plans by John Prescott to increase council taxes on homes with scenic views, patios, greenhouses, large garages and conservatories. The proposals were revealed in internal Whitehall documents on the forthcoming council tax revaluation in England.

The Government has so far spent £60 million on revaluation, of which an estimated £45 million has paid for a new American computer system – so-called ‘Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal’. Conservatives have used Parliamentary Questions to obtain the technical IT documents. They reveal that the Government is using it to collect a whole new range of ‘value’ indicators on individual homes. This in turn will allow the Government to impose higher council tax on properties with those indicators.

The new ‘dwelling house codes’ and ‘value significance codes’ being collected include:

• Number of bedrooms.
• If located near a golf course, a conservation area; or with a view of a sea, hills or lake.
• Conservatory type and size, including greenhouses and UPVC/hardwood conservatories.
• Number of garage spaces and car parking spaces.
• Large patios or gardens.

Under Mr Blair, council taxes in Greenwich have already soared by 44 per cent – taking a typical bill to £1,180 a year. Future hikes are on the way, engineered by Whitehall, in the form of the delayed – but not cancelled – council tax revaluation.

A new American computer system will allow John Prescott’s bureaucrats to identify homes with garages, green houses, large patios or gardens, with scenic views or in a Conservation Area. This in turn will allow Labour to increase council tax on these homes, by pushing them into a higher council tax band.

This is a sinister echo of the ancient ‘windows tax’, rather than a fair charge for the use of local services. These plans are the ultimate stealth tax – taxing those who have worked hard and improved their homes, and making council tax even more punishing for families and pensioners