"Gordon Brown’s Budget Day report into town hall finances today dropped a tax bombshell on working families and pensioners across the country Conservatives have warned. The small print reveals:

  • New home improvement tax: On top of new banding, the report recommends not just a council tax revaluation, but regular revaluations (p.240). The council tax revaluation will mean Gordon Brown’s inspectors, the Valuation Office Agency, will inspect, photograph and catalogue every home, and every sign of a nice neighbourhood. Council tax bills will rise purely for living in a quiet road, being near to a bus stop, or having a parking space. People who rent will be taxed just as much as those who own their home. Inspectors have the right to enter people’s homes, on pain of £500 fines. Unlike at present, council tax will effectively become a home improvement tax.
  • New death taxes: Pensioners face the prospect of being pressured to sign away their homes’ equity to local government tax collectors (p.259). Town halls will encourage pensioners to ‘defer’ their local tax bills, and instead pay – with interest – when they their property is sold or on death of the surviving resident spouse. Such a policy though will pressure many pensioners on fixed incomes to sign away their equity if they are struggling with their tax bills. A typical pensioner in England will face a net debt of £64,000 after 20 years.
  • New bin taxes: Town halls will charge new bin taxes to collect household rubbish (p.280). Microchips will be installed on compulsory wheelie bin and new municipal bin inspectors will police every bin. The taxes will damage the environment and public health by causing a surge in fly-tipping and backyard burning. Based on Ireland, the charges will be £451 per year to collect 2 bin bags a week.
  • New bed taxes: Town halls will be able to levy new bed taxes top of existing business rates and VAT on hotel bills (p.316). Based on similar taxes in other countries, this could potentially add £100 a week to the cost of a family holiday or visit to Britain’s tourist destinations. Less well-off families will be the hardest hit. People will be punished for going green and holidaying in Britain.

Caroline Spelman MP, Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government, said:

“Gordon Brown’s town hall tax report has dropped a tax bombshell on working families and pensioners across the country.  The green light has been given to intrusive and expensive inspections of family homes. Nice neighbourhoods and the rising value of homes will all mean higher council tax bills. Regular revaluations will turn council tax into a home improvement tax – taxing your patio, your conservatory and garden.
I fear the elderly, struggling with soaring council tax bills, will be pressured into signing away their homes to the taxman. Vulnerable people face either forfeiting their children’s inheritance or have the bailiff knocking on their doors for non-payment of rising council taxes.  Every household faces the prospect of new rubbish taxes on top, combined with their bins only being collected once a fortnight. If you don’t pay, your bins just won’t be collected. These taxes will lead to a surge in fly-tipping and dangerous backyard burning. It will have devastating consequences for the local environment and public health. This isn’t a green tax – it’s an excuse to tax more by stealth.
To top the lot, families wanting to go green and holiday in this country will be punished with new bed taxes, fatally undermining Britain’s struggling tourist resorts.  On Gordon Brown’s final Budget day, higher taxes are on the way from your town hall – engineered by Labour – without any improvements in local services. This is a tax con – pay more and get nothing. Conservatives will fight hard against these tax plans and stand up for working families and pensioners who deserve better.”

Central Office at its best.

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