Daily Archives: 7 November 2005

Council Taxballs

The Sunday Torygraph and its counterparts in the Commons are getting their knickers in a twist over reports that, as it’s headline says:

Government to tax the view from your house

Older readers may recall that there was a time when the Telegraph was regarded as a “serious” newspaper. This story is face-slappingly ridiculous on two grounds. Firstly, one of the (many) factors that determine the value of property is the view; always has been, always will be. Council Tax is a tax on property values, so why on Earth shouldn’t the government take it into account?

But secondly, one has to ask what exactly the Tory’s policy is on municipal taxation? They support the policy of council tax as vehemently as they oppose revaluation, yet that means effectively basing the tax on property values circa 1991. So what are we to call it? It certainly isn’t an income tax, or a land tax, and property tax is stretching it. Their position appears to be to tax random events from the past.

One wonders where this will take Caroline Spelman? Perhaps she will introduce tax incentives for people whose grandparents had a “V” in their name, or tax people for people whose neighbours ten years ago used to dump rubbish. They seem to be stuck in a period – the 1990s – when the only mildly successful policy was the introduction of the National Lottery and now think that blind luck should form the basis of their whole economic policy.

Maybe not. But it does remind me that however much I might not like current Lib Dem policy on the subject, we could do a lot worse.