Council tax bills to rise by up to £1,200 for a million, say Tories

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Indy Politics

Changes to council tax bands will see 6.2 million households facing bill rises of at least £260 every year but many face bigger rises, according to research by the Conservatives, which is based on government figures.

The increases in council tax will result from an official re-evaluation of property values. The rise in property prices over the past decade will see many households moving up two or more council tax bands, particularly in London and the South-east of England.

According to calculations by the Tories, based on the revaluation experience in Wales, 920,000 homes in England are expected to face a £534 a year rise, while 27,000 homes will have to pay £1,214 extra a year because their homes have increased dramatically in value. About 110,000 homes will pay £813 a year more because they have moved up three bands.

The Tories warned yesterday that the council tax re-evaluation would be used to "hike council tax bills by stealth".

Caroline Spelman, shadow Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, warned that council tax bills would rise by "five times the rate of inflation".

She said: "This destroys the Labour Party's dodgy claims that revaluation would be revenue neutral. Families and pensioners, whose only crime is to live in an area with house price inflation, are facing soaring bills without any improvements in their local services."

Council tax bills have already increased by about 76 per cent since 1997and bills are expected to rise by an average of 10 per cent next year.

In Wales, the revaluation has already happened and a third of homes have moved up one or more bands, which has meant big increases in council tax for thousands of households. Only 8 per cent of homes have seen their bills decrease.

The Conservatives have calculated the likely rises for households in England by extrapolating the effect on bill rises in England from the revaluation in Wales. They believe that 6,233,990 households in England would move up a band with an increase of £267 in their annual bill.

But yesterday the Government said that rises in bills in England could not be predicted based on rises based in Wales.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said: "The situation is different than in Wales. The revaluation exercise in England will be revenue neutral.

"We are not looking at raising more revenue overall."

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