Bob Neill responds to a Guardian editorial which claims that by ruling out a council tax revaluation, the Government is avoiding tough decisions…
Bob Neill responds to a Guardian editorial which claims that by ruling out a council tax revaluation, the Government is avoiding tough decisions.
You are wrong to suggest we have ducked tough decisions by ruling out a council tax revaluation (Editorial, 27 September). Our stance is consistent - both coalition parties opposed a council tax revaluation in opposition. Ruling out a Whitehall-driven revaluation protects the interests of the less well-off. If we hadn’t, hard-working households would have faced bills up to £320 a year higher when they could least afford them. The 2005 Welsh revaluation proved revaluations hit poorer people harder. Two thirds of the increases were among the lowest banded homes. By contrast, the existing council tax system already revalues homes when they are sold if there has been a material improvement - such as a new extension. This prevents council tax being a home improvement tax, but ensures that larger homes pay more. Bills more than doubled under Labour, hitting fixed incomes hardest. This is why we’re also working with councils to deliver a council tax freeze and have promised a long-term look at council resources. The public finances were left in a mess, and yes we have to sort them out, but more unfair council tax hikes are not the way to do that.
Local Government Minister