Ruffley warns of modern day 'window tax'

Wednesday, 9 November, 2005

David Ruffley MP has today heavily criticised Government plans that could see taxes increased on homes with features such patios, conservatories, parking spaces or even scenic views.

The Government want to revalue and re-band council tax to take advantage of the increase in property values since the early 1990s. David Ruffley and the Conservative Party are opposing these plans for higher taxes on hard-working families and pensioners. The purpose of a revaluation is to correct sharp movements in the housing market, compared to the last revaluation. However, house prices are currently converging relative to the last valuation.

The new computer system that the Government is putting in place introduces 66 indicators on individual properties known as 'value significance codes'. This will allow higher council tax bills to be levied on homes with garages, green houses, patios, gardens or scenic views.

David said:

'Since 1997 Council Tax bills have soared by 76 percent across England. The Council Tax revaluation has been postponed not cancelled. When the revaluation comes, it will be more punishing than ever thanks to John Prescott's new £45 million computer system designed to assess homes via 'value significance codes'.

'These new 'value significance codes' are yet another way of punishing the population of rural England. It is frankly ludicrous that someone should be taxed more because they have a conservatory, a patio or simply enjoy a nice view. This is typical of a Government that does not understand, and seeks to abuse, rural communities such as Suffolk.

'Why should the population of rural England pay more council tax than those in urban areas just because they happen to have a view of the sea, hills or a conservation area?

'This will be a modern day 'window tax' rather than a charge for local services and it will hit the vast majority of homes across middle England and the shire counties with a hefty increase in their Council Tax.'