Ruffley reveals extent of snooping by Government inspectors on Suffolk family homes in preparation for future Council Tax revaluation

Monday, 24 August, 2009

David Ruffley MP has slammed the Government over their plans to increase taxes on family homes by way of a 'patio tax'. New evidence has emerged that the Government is preparing for a council tax revaluation across England. The Government's aim is to increase council tax bills in order to fill the deep black hole in Britain's ruined public finances.

• Clipboard inspectors recording your house, scenic views and nice features:

Leaked Government presentations have revealed how the features of every home are currently being recorded, logged, digitised and entered into a new Government database. Using complex mathematical techniques, the council tax banding of every home will then be re-calculated, pushing up council tax bills for the targeted homes. The features that are being recorded by the inspectors include patios, balconies, scenic views, the number of rooms, garage spaces and parking spaces in your home.

•100,000 homes now logged for their scenic views:

A Freedom of Information Act request has forced the Government to give a breakdown of the property codes collected so far across England. Even though the stealth council tax revaluation is incomplete and internal inspections of people's homes have not yet started, the tax snoopers have already recorded 100,000 homes as having a scenic view; 780,000 conservatories; the number of garage spaces of every home- including 1.1 million with two or more spaces; and 5,000 'value significant' patios.

• Revaluation will lead to soaring council tax bills in St Edmundsbury and Mid Suffolk:

Wales was hit by a council tax revaluation in 2005. Four times as many homes moved up a council tax band as down. Moving up a tax band from band D to band E would increase the council tax bill for a typical home in Mid Suffolk from £1454 to £1777- a rise of £323 a year and in St Edmundsbury from £1463 to £1788- a rise of £325 a year. Our local councils would receive less government grant as a result- meaning the tax rise would effectively be pocketed by Whitehall.

David said:

'Moving up from council tax band D to band E as a result of this 'patio tax' will cost my constituents in Mid Suffolk and St Edmundsbury well over £300 more a year on their council tax bills.

'The Government's claims that the council tax revaluation in England had been shelved have been exposed as a complete sham. Gordon Brown's council tax inspectors have been caught red-handed preparing the way for massive tax rises on Suffolk after the election to fill the deep black hole in Britain's ruined public finances. The Government must now come clean and make clear exactly how many homes in Suffolk have been secretly logged and recorded to date.

'It is disgraceful that the Government is thinking of taxing people for looking out onto an attractive view from their own windows or having a nice patio. I strongly oppose the Government's tax raising plans and their allowing council tax inspectors the right of entry into my constituents' homes.'