Sunday, November 05, 2006

Be afraid, be very afraid

Worrying Council Tax "pilot scheme"

Unusually very few bloggers seem to have picked up on this article in today's Sunday Telegraph outlining the extreme difficulties being faced by council tax payers in Northern Ireland. Probably because it is about Northern Ireland, yet the problems being experienced there could be duplicated on mainland England Wales and South Tyneside.

A new method of calculating council tax is being used in the province and politician's there are convinced that it is being used as a pilot scheme for the rest of us here. In essence council tax is being calculated at 0.78% of the current market value of your property, with revaluations happening every five years. The scheme does not take into account ability to pay, or the fact that people may be property rich, yet have a very poor income.

Current market value of the average two bedroomed flat in South Tyneside is around 95,000 pounds, council tax at 0.78% of this value amounts to 741 pounds, compared to the current 840 pounds, a nice little saving, however for someone with a terraced house in the same street valued at 150,000 pounds, the council tax jumps to 1,170 pounds. A semi-detached worth 200,000 pounds would attract tax of 1,950 pounds!

If the market value alone is not enough to worry about, there is also the additional benefits and amenities calculations to consider. If you have a conservatory, loft conversion, views overlooking a park, a river, a golf course, or the coast the value will be adjusted upwards. Then there is more, if you refuse to allow a valuation inspector access to your property, you could face a fine of a thousand pounds or more!

Reading the article is enough to bring tears to the eyes, when one considers the amount of people in this borough who have perhaps lived in the same dwelling for a number of years and seeing it's value rise well beyond what they could have imagined, whilst their salaries or incomes have not been able to rise at the same rate.

It is beyond belief that David Cameron and the Tories seem hell bent on going into the next election without a commitment to reducing taxes, it is to be hoped that they fight this one tooth and nail to end the scheme in Northern Ireland and to ensure we don't see such a nonsensical approach to local government finance over here.



surely 0.78 of 95000 is 780-not 7800
Ah well spotted, you have found the deliberate "prove to me that you are reading" tripwire!
It's much more moral to tax property values than it is to tax incomes.

After all it's the state that is creating the property right in the first place.

A property right is just another way of saying "the government lets you stop other people from accesing and using your property".

Taxes like this also stop the catastrophic fall in housing affordability (Inflation that isn't called inflation) that we have seen over the last few years.

You may be interested in the arguments of geonomics.
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