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* * * News for 26th February 2007 * * *

All of Medway: 26th February 2007

Money Warning: Property Revaluation Scam

Secret plans to push properties into higher Council Tax bands uncovered

Forced disclosure of secret manuals used during the recent property revaluation exercise in Wales has revealed that higher council tax bills are being "rigged" for homes near bus stops, shops or with peace & quiet, among numerous other factors. These State documents expose Labour's 'cynical tax on quality of life'. This is an early warning to all of us of what could be in store for Medway and other parts of Britain.

Ministerial denials of Gordon Brown's plans to tax nice neighbourhoods in the forthcoming council tax revaluation in England were discredited when the secret manuals, never before placed in the public domain, were revealed a few days ago.

They show that many homes with features like being near shops and public transport, with pleasant views or with "peace and quiet" were penalised with higher council tax bills. Building on the experience in Wales, the Treasury have rolled out an even more sophisticated neighbourhood tax in Northern Ireland for this April's revaluation, with plans for the system to be used comprehensively in the looming council tax revaluation in England.

So, there you have it. As this is a national government driven exercise, and it is their (formerly secret) rules that are outlined above, our local Members of Parliament need to challenge the way this exercise would be conducted here in Medway, if they are inclined to do so. As they are Labour MPs, it seems unlikely that they will go against their own party's government, but we must all try. As one such move, I intend to bring a formal Motion on this before the full Medway Council at its next regular meeting, on 19th April, to bring the weight of the whole Council to bear on our three MPs.