HARINGEY COUNCIL TAX BILLS TO ROCKET AFTER ELECTION

Council Tax payers in Haringey face a post-election tax bombshell, Liberal Democrats warned today.

Liberal Democrats brought their Axe the Tax campaign bus to Haringey to warn voters that Council Tax bills will rise by 200% or more because house prices have risen so fast in the area.

Council Tax is currently based on property values in April 1991 but the government is updating its valuation figures to take account of changes in property prices since then.

The whole of Haringey will be hard hit because house prices have gone up 243%, according to the latest research from the Halifax House Price Index. Homes could move up two, three or even more bands.

Property prices at the end of March will be the basis for Council Tax bills for the next 10 years.

Anyone whose home has gone up more than the national average since 1991 will be moved into a higher tax band. That means bills will rise by up to 22%.

In Wales, where revaluation has already happened, some families will see their council tax bill TREBLE. That could be repeated across Haringey, because of house price inflation.

Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green Lynne Featherstone said:

“Council Tax is unfair, and revaluation is going to make it much worse for the people of Hornsey and Wood Green.

“Just because house prices have risen, local people will have to struggle to afford hundreds of pounds extra in Council Tax.”

Liberal Democrat local government spokesman Edward Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton, added:

“Both the other parties try and deny it, but they simply have no solutions to the ticking time-bomb of spiralling Council Tax bills.

“The whole Council Tax system is bust, and it is time to scrap it. Liberal Democrat plans to replace it with a fair system based on ability to pay would cut the typical family’s bill by around £450 a year.”

Notes:

1. The whole of London will be hit by revaluation, but Haringey in particular because house prices have risen by 243%, above average even for London.

2. Current council tax bills are based on property value 1 April 1991. Council Tax bills from April 2007 will be based on property value 1 April 2005.

3. Areas where house prices have risen faster than the national average (175%) are likely to have homes moved into higher tax bands.

4. Labour and Conservatives are committed to revaluation.Caroline Spelman, Conservative local government spokesman: ‘Of course we understand that a property based tax has to take account of changes in the value of property.’ (Hansard, 2 March, col 992)

5. In Wales, where revaluation has happened, 33% of homes were moved into higher bands, 8% of homes moved down a band. 3 homes were moved up 8 bands, trebling their council tax bill.