Ruffley's anger at Government's secret house price tax

Tuesday, 9 May, 2006

David Ruffley MP has today expressed concern at reports of the Government's secret plans to increase council tax bills on homes with attractive features and home improvements.

Government Ministers are this month revaluing local tax bills in Northern Ireland. Under their brand new system, from April 2007, local tax bills will be a set percentage of the house price and will be unlimited- like an annual stamp duty on every home.

Internal documents reveal:

• Homes with a scenic or 'premium views', adjoining parks or green spaces, or in Conservation Area will pay higher taxes.

• The internal and external specifications of the property will affect the tax bill. Patios, garden sheds, double-glazing, conservatories or extensions are 'site positive' features that will hike bills.

• Tax bills will be based on the house price of the property, and be unlimited, unlike the present 'banded' system of council tax. Local residents will be charged 0.78 percent of their home's value each year, this would mean a tax increase of £356 per year for the average home in St Edmundsbury and £365 in Mid Suffolk.

David said:

'I am very concerned over the Government's plans for an unlimited house price tax. This would increase the tax burden on Suffolk, and turn council tax into a tax on house prices and tap into the property boom.

'I fear hard-working families and pensioners who have saved and improved their homes now face soaring tax bills, without any improvements in their local services.

'This is typical of a Government that does not understand, and seeks to abuse, rural communities such as Suffolk.'