The UK Government today announced its intention to cancel planned council tax revaluation in Wales.
Measures in the forthcoming Localism Bill will also devolve the powers to decide the timing of council tax revaluations in Wales to Welsh Assembly Government Ministers. This removes the legal requirement to hold a revaluation in 2015, ten years after the last revaluation. Work on the revaluation was due to start in 2012-13.
A recent decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles stopped the council tax revaluation in England. He also reassured English taxpayers that there will be no unexpected revaluation hikes in the next five years.
As a result of the last council tax revaluation in Wales in 2005, four times as many homes moved up one or more council tax bands than moved down. Two-thirds of the net rises were amongst homes originally in Bands A to C. UK ministers believe this hit the less well-off households the hardest. The council tax revaluation was also accompanied by council tax rebanding.
UK ministers want to see Welsh taxpayers get the same certainty about revaluation. It will be a matter for the Welsh Assembly Government Minister to decide whether they will now issue the same reassurances to Welsh taxpayers as have been given to English tax payers. No revaluation will now take place unless the Welsh Assembly Government Minister determines otherwise.
Both England and Wales have seen significant rises in council tax since 1997, with Band D bills rising by 109 per cent in England and 128 per cent in Wales. A revaluation could further increase households’ bills by pushing more people into higher bands. Moving from Band C to Band D increases yearly bills by a further 13 per cent, and from Band D to Band E by a further 22 per cent.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:
We’ve confirmed that English taxpayers will not face an unwanted council tax revaluation hike, it’s only right that Welsh taxpayers have the same protection.
The 2005 revaluation showed how this tax exercise was used as an excuse to push up bills for hard-working families and pensioners.
Hefty council tax bills are a constant financial worry for many people in England and Wales. The new UK Government wants to avoid any unnecessary and expensive revaluations that have lead to massive hikes in tax bills.
Welcoming this decision Cheryl Gillan, Secretary of State for Wales said:
We have decided to scrap the national rules that would have made council tax revaluation in Wales in 2015 compulsory This will now be a matter for Welsh Assembly Government Ministers and I hope they will move swiftly to give the same protection to Welsh taxpayers as the UK Government has given in England.
Notes to editors
1. The forthcoming Localism Bill will devolve the power to Welsh Assembly Government Ministers to decide the timing of council tax revaluations in Wales, rather than being bound to the timetable set out in legislation passed following the Local Government Act 2003. This will also cancel the legal requirement for a council tax revaluation in Wales that was due to take place in 2015. Work on the Welsh revaluation would have started in 2012-13. Ministers in Westminster have discussed this matter with the Welsh Assembly Government, and that they are in agreed with the proposed devolution of responsibility.
2. The Secretary of State for Local Government cancelled the revaluation in England that was due in 2015 with the Treasury: www.communities.gov.uk/news/newsroom/1723670.
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