Saturday, April 12, 2008

Taxing by stealth.

Important story about Council Tax in today's Western Mail by Martin Shipton - the re banding by stealth of properties in Wales. It seems that 24,000 have been re-revalued, following the 2005 Wales wide revaluation. Very often, these sort of stories are not hugely significant - but I think this one could be. There's a bit of background here of course. The revaluation of 2005 was controversial, because the total Council Tax 'take' went up by around 9% 'under its cover' - after the Minister had assured everyone beforehand that it would be a 'revenue neutral' exercise. And the equivalent revaluation in England was cancelled before the last election. Over 30% of properties were revalued upwards, and only 8% were revalued downwards.

Martin's article included a response from a Valuation Office Agency spokesman which reinforced the story. "We have a statutory duty to maintain the list of Council Tax bandings.....this is maintaining accurate and fair Council Tax bands in the interests of fairness". Now revaluations do take place all the time, as a result of appeals and property extensions. Since 2005, there have been 702 upwards revaluations and 645 downwards. But in the case highlighted in the article, 40 properties were revalued upwards as the result of the Valuation Office visiting one house. This is, in effect another revaluation.

If we are to have another revaluation in Wales, people should be told about it. I wouldn't be in favour of it, mainly because of the way it was used to conceal a big rise in Council Tax last time around. Well done the Western Mail for giving this issue some big coverage. Several comments from a Plaid Cymru Councillor, Gwenllian Lansdown were included. Perhaps she could have a word with the Assembly Coalition Government, in which her Party is a partner, who could have a word with the Valuation Office Agency to ask exactly what is going on.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Glyn, also other things of interest to you in today's Western Mail.....
Do you have your order in for Sian Lloyd's book?
I read that they've had to double the print run.
Not only is the part-time MP for Montgomeryshire doing you a whole pile of favours, but ditto Ms Lloyd's bank balance

Anonymous said...

Spot on with your comments on Plaid. They seem to be living in a fantasy world where the actions of their party in government in wales in supporting Labour are conveniently ignored at a local government or parliamentary level. people should not forget that the ONLY reason Labour are in power in Wales is becasue of the nationalists.

bored of politicians said...

why the shock this is the kind of slippery thing politicians do, ordinary people haven't got any avenue's to fight back against this once your house is rebranded that's it, if you appeal it heavily waited in the local authorities favour and 99% of cases are lost.

Why just attack Plaid Cymru over this, they are only YES men to Welsh Labour puppets who are being guided by Labour in Westminster.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - some of the Lib Dem apologists have taken the gloves off in a campaign against Sian - but the peolpe are not buying it. Still, you can't blame them for trying. It is a touch unreasonable to attack an autobiography for speaking the truth though. There was even some talk of 'legal action' which was probably totally ficticious, but meant to convey an impression that the book was false.

anon 2 - You too are 'spot on'.

bored - I wasn't attacking politicians. I was questioning the way that the VOA is operating. However, I do think that this is an issue that Government should be looking at. Is the VOA going to revalue all these properties that are losing value as a result of the current financial maelstrom. No chance. I only mentioned Plaid Cymru because it was one of their 'rising stars' who featured so strongly in the original article.