Labor wants to charge higher council taxes on houses with large gardens, the Tories say

Homeowners with gardens will pay higher council taxes under plans being considered by Labor, it has been claimed.

The Conservatives said Sir Keir Starmer would use a Welsh Labor plan to sniff the size of people’s gardens via satellite for ‘Big Brother’ re-evaluations.

Following the same “blueprint” for council tax in England could hit households with a rise of £482 a year, the Tories claim. However, Labor dismissed the claims as “fantasy”.

In May, The Telegraph revealed that the Labour-led Welsh government is planning to use satellites to spy on homeowners with large gardens to overhaul council taxes.

The Welsh Government has said it will introduce higher tax bands and higher tax rates to tackle “property wealth” and “rebalance” the current system.

To accomplish this task, it has developed a computer database known as the Computerized Valuation Model, in which property values ​​can be calculated through mathematical and statistical models based on data inputs including lot sizes and aerial photography.

Although the shake-up has been postponed until 2028, the Tories have said the technology being developed in Wales could be quickly adapted to tax homes in England.

The Tories said imposing new additional council tax bands, charging more tax on certain tax bands or bringing homes into higher tax bands could all be used to increase council tax.

With council tax currently at £2,171 per year for an average house in band D in England, the Tories said that based on the current banding, moving that house to the higher band E would mean an automatic increase of 22 per cent – which equates to an additional £482 per year.

Sir Keir has described the Welsh Labor government as a “blueprint for what Labor can do across Britain” and has also previously spoken of his desire to reform local government funding.

When Sky News asked last week whether he could ‘rule out’ a review of council tax in England, he said council tax was ‘too high for too many people’ and that he ‘didn’t want to raise tax’.

When Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, was asked about council tax, he said there was “nothing in our plans” that required a change.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, meanwhile, backhandedly argued in 2018 that council tax was “at the very least, long overdue for a re-evaluation and review of the existing bond”.

Torsten Bell, the Labor candidate for Swansea West, has also called for revaluation.

In his recently published book Great Britain? On how we can get our future back, he said: “It is time to bite the bullet and carry out a revaluation of properties in England and Scotland (Wales has already done that). We either need to add more bands, increase the variation in bills between them, or move to a fully proportional tax on property values.”

Michael Gove, the Tory Housing Secretary, said: “A Labor government would burden family homes with higher council taxes, just as Labor has done in Wales.

“Keir Starmer is far from open with voters about the taxes he would raise to fill his £38.5 billion black hole, but given that the Labor government in Wales is his ‘blueprint’ for Britain , family homes across the country are clearly in the crosshairs. .

“He has repeatedly failed to rule out costly revaluations and add tax brackets, making only a vague promise of ‘reform’.”

A Labor Party spokesman said: “After fourteen years of making promises they couldn’t keep, this desperate Tory party is now being reduced every day to coming up with a new Labor plan that doesn’t exist, rather than answering questions about the huge gaps in their country. own plans, which will lead to a £4,800 increase in family mortgages.

“We are not going to respond to the fantasy plans that the Tories come up with for the next two weeks.

‘They would be better off if they remembered that they were intended as an antidote to Liz Truss and that in the end they were nothing more than the final part of her disastrous approach.

“The country needs change and we have set out a clear, practical and affordable plan for change in our manifesto.

“After fourteen years of Tory chaos, it’s time to turn the page and rebuild Britain with Labour.”

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