17 March 2007
Secret Government plans for tax hikes on family homes - including how they look - have been exposed after Conservatives forced Gordon Brown's council tax inspectors to publish their explosive tax revaluation handbook.

This new evidence blows away denials from Government spin doctors that there is no 'stealth' council tax revaluation underway.

  • Taxed for the look of your home: The 80 page manual - by Gordon Brown's Valuation Office Agency - is illustrated with photographs of every type of home, including architectural styles; brick, thatch or stone fascias; sash windows; age periods and house dimensions. The tax men are instructed to grade individual homes with particular computer codes. These codes are then entered into an American 'Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal' database which will calculate how much extra tax that home should pay based on its features.
  • Taxed for your cul-de-sac, patio or parking space: On top of this, 'Value Significant' property features that must be coded by the tax inspectors to calculate council tax bills include: living in a quiet road or cul-de-sac; near to convenient public transport; garden; patio; roof terrace; balcony; sea or hill views; near a field or golf course; conservatory; double glazing; and number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garage spaces and parking spaces.
  • Stealth revaluation now underway: Despite the Government claims on the "postponement" of the council tax revaluation in England, Labour Ministers have given explicit authorisation for the council tax revaluation database to go ahead after the announcement of the postponement. Taxpayers' money is being spent on refining the next-generation technology which has been bought in from secretive American contractors. Gordon Brown has valued the computer software alone at £6 million. The 'Big Brother' database also allows for the imposition of a house price tax, now being piloted in Northern Ireland from April.

Harriett Baldwin, Parliamentary Candidate for West Worcestershire, said:

"Claims by Whitehall spin doctors that the council tax revaluation in England was postponed have been exposed as a complete sham. Labour Ministers have given their express authority for every home in Worcestershire to be sized up, and every home improvement or sign of a nice neighbourhood, to be photographed, catalogued and taxed by Gordon Brown's inspectors.

"I fear council tax bills will rise purely for living in a quiet road, being near to a bus stop, or having a parking space. People who rent will be taxed just as much as those who own their home.

"Labour Ministers and Gordon Brown believe they have the right to intrude on people's privacy to tax your home and punish those who live in nice neighbourhoods. But Conservatives will scrap these revaluation plans and abolish the tax inspectors' rights of entry. We will stand up for people's property and privacy."