Parties urged to commit to council tax revaluation ahead of general election

7 Aug 14

All political parties have been urged to commit to council tax revaluation in the next parliament by the British Property Federation, which said most voters would see little change after a review.

Government failures to revalue properties for 23 years had brought the council tax system ‘into disrepute’ the BPF said, with valuations from 1991 – when the tax was established – still being used to allocate homes to charging bands. They range from Band A for properties worth less than £40,000 to Band H, for those valued at more than £320,000.
Labour abandoned an intended revaluation in 2007.
The federation, which represent the commercial property industry,said a revaluation should be in all parties’ manifestos.
Politicians need not fear the wrath of voters who saw their council tax bills increase following a revaluation, it stated, as research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed 70% of taxpayers would see only a negligible change.
According to that there would be, for example, 17.3% net gainers in the north compared to 22.9% net losers in the south.
The steepest property price rises were in London but even there about half of bills would be largely unaffected, the BPF said.
Earmarking any increased tax take for affordable housing in or near the area where it was raised would also help make revaluation more publicly acceptable, it suggested.
The BPF also backed the creation of ‘one or two’ bands higher than Band H as an alterative to the ‘mansion’ tax on homes valued in excess of £2m, proposed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
BPF chief executive Liz Peace said: ‘Politicians, through their continual postponement of a council tax revaluation, are bringing the credibility of council tax into disrepute.
‘If you are going to have a tax based on property values then you have got to have revaluations more than every 23 years.’
Peace added that technical advances since 1991 meant revaluation need not be expensive or viewed as an ‘insurmountable administrative obstacle’.

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