Council tax charges 'will be higher than expected'

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THE GOVERNMENT has badly overestimated the revenue local authorities will receive from the council tax because of inaccurate property valuations, a survey by the Association of London Authorities has revealed.

As a result, the rate of council tax that householders will have to pay from April next year will be higher than the Government had calculated.

The London survey gives details which confirm the national picture admitted by Department of the Environment earlier this week.

The money councils will receive - the taxbase - in some London boroughs is as much as 22 per cent lower than the original Government estimate base on valuations in April 1991.

In some boroughs valuers found that only a quarter of the homes which were originally estimated to be worth more than pounds 88,000 were correctly valued when formal valuation assessments were announced this week. The remaining three quarters were worth less.

Overall, the taxbase for all London authorities is 6.4 per cent lower than the Government assumed, with the base in inner London 8.5 per cent lower than original estimates made for the Government by the valuation office of the Inland Revenue.

Properties range from band A valued at up to pounds 40,000; band B from pounds 40,001 to pounds 52,000; band C pounds 52,001 to pounds 68,000; band D from pounds 68,001 to pounds 88,000; band E from pounds 88,001 to pounds 120,000; band F from pounds 120,001 to pounds 160,000; band G from pounds 160,001, to pounds 320,000; and band H over pounds 320,000.

Because far more properties are in lower tax bands than the government valuers estimated, householders will have to pay more.

Preliminary results from a survey by the Association of Metropolitan Authorities indicates similar miscalculations have occurred in other areas.

For instance in Coventry the Government estimated 22 per cent of properties would be in band A, 20 per cent in band B, 21 per cent in band C and 18 per cent in band D.

The actual valuations show 43 per cent are in band A, 20 per cent in band B , 17 per cent in band C and 6 per cent in band D.