With the general election less than a year away, attention is starting to turn to manifestos and the policies that the major political parties hope will earn them votes. Next year’s general election takes on an additional layer of intrigue of course, due to the fact that there was no outright winner last time. This led to the formation of a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, who each had to compromise on certain policies in order to create a functioning government. With the coalition’s term nearing its end, parties will be reverting to type and attempting to show the British public why they and they alone, should be elected to run the country in the next parliament.
One policy that it could be argued would earn any party support would be a promise to commit to council tax revaluation. It has long been claimed that a property tax system still reliant on valuations from 23 years ago is outdated and no longer fair. The British Property Federation (BPF) has already said that successive government failures to revalue properties since the tax was established in its current form in 1991 have brought the council tax system ‘into disrepute’.
It is no surprise then that the BPF, which represent the commercial property industry, has said that a council tax revaluation should feature prominently in all parties’ manifestos. They claim that any fear of a backlash from voters who saw their bills increase following a revaluation would be irrational. This is due to research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which showed that 70% of taxpayers would see only a negligible change. London has predictably been identified at the area to have experienced the steepest property price rises, but even there about half of bills would be largely unaffected, the BPF said.
They also suggest that a promise to allocate any increased tax revenue to affordable housing in or near the area where it was raised would help make revaluation more publicly acceptable. In addition to the revaluation itself, the BPF has backed the creation of several tax bands higher than the current upper ceiling of Band H. They view it as a favourable alternative to the ‘mansion’ tax being proposed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats for homes valued in excess of £2m.
BPF chief executive Liz Peace said that if a tax based on property values is going to work, then it needs more regular revaluations. She insisted that technical advances since 1991 mean revaluation need not be expensive or viewed as an overly administrative process by those in power.
If you are struggling with your council tax payments, contact Council Tax Advisors for free, independent advice. We can liaise with your local authority on your behalf to work out a repayment plan that is both affordable and sustainable.