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Council tax

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Tuesday 23 January 2007 11.11am
[continued from this thread]

KM wrote:
Why do I pay more council tax on a one bedroom flat in London than a family with a four bedroom house in Yorkshire? Local property valuations should be taken into account - wait wasn't that how the old rates worked?

Umm, you don't, because they *are* indirectly taken into account!

You might be in the same band (though frankly it's unlikely unless your one bedroom flat is in Chelsea and the four bedroom house is in downtown Doncaster), but if a larger proportion of houses are in a higher band, the actual tax rate for that band will be lower.

That's why Sedgefield (I believe we know the MP) has the highest Band D Council tax in the country and Westminster has the lowest. It all works out because say Sedgefield Band D is 1400 and Westminster is 400, the difference is much lower in reality. Most people in Sedgefield are in Band A, so would actually pay 900, whereas an average Westminster home is probably Band F, so would pay 600.

That's an extreme example, and people in wealthier areas will usually pay more, because the Government gives the Council less from central taxes. Westminster and so on just do implausibly well (it used to be because they counted people staying in hotels as homeless, I don't know what it is now).
Tuesday 23 January 2007 1.08pm
Thanks for the info beingjdc but still don't understand as we both pay 73 a month by standing order - and I'm in SE1 not Chelsea Duh?
Tuesday 23 January 2007 1.22pm
That sounds average if it's 73 a month between the two of you. Are you in Southwark or Lambeth? It tends to be paid over 10 months so 730 a year, that might be about right.

My parents have the 4-bedroom house in Yorkshire of your original point, and they pay 1,235 a year (band D), but it does depend on the area! A nice 1-bed flat in a 'good' bit of London could easily creep into band D ( = worth over 70,000 in 1991).
Tuesday 23 January 2007 1.45pm
Trouble is this is the same case for the Poll Tax

Family of 4 all earning pay same as next door neighbour older couple in similar 4 bed house

Poll tax meant familly of 4 earners paid 4 time as much

it was political suicide
Tuesday 23 January 2007 2.22pm
two of us pay 1,450 approx....bring back poll tax! (which cost more money to administer i think!)
Tuesday 23 January 2007 2.38pm
I meant my friends in Yorkshire and I both pay 73 a month hence were're paying the same Council Tax for radically different properties - I live alone in Southwark! I appreciate you trying to make sense of this for me but I'm still convinced it's a totally unfair tax.
Tuesday 23 January 2007 2.51pm
Any tax that's not income-related could be classed as unfair, but at least council tax *attempts* to take your wealth into account by setting the tax with reference to the value of your home (as opposed to VAT which everyone pays equally no matter their ability to afford it), and presumes that those who can afford a more expensive home can afford to pay more tax. Obviously the value of a one-bedroom flat in London is akin to a 4-bed house in Yorkshire, no one would be surprised to hear that.

Not that I'm pro-council tax, I just think it's an inevitability and not something worth getting annoyed about.
Tuesday 23 January 2007 3.09pm
Yes that's exactly it then, assuming you're getting your 25% single person discount that means you live in a Band C flat, it was worth between 52,001 and 68,000 in 1991. That's especially plausible in SE1 (my old flat was Band B, but then I live in SE16; my new one hasn't been valued yet as it's a recent conversion.)

I'm surprised to hear them paying that little in Yorkshire for a house that size, but I suppose if it's in a bit of Yorkshire that was run-down in the 1980s they might well be in Band A.

Council Tax does look weird if you look at it as the amount you pay on the size of the property - though you could look at it as VAT on rent, then it would make perfect sense - a 1-bed flat in SE1 costs about 200,000. So does a 4-bed house in Yorkshire.
Tuesday 23 January 2007 3.43pm
Your assumptions are correct beingjcd and I can intellectually get my head round it but I still think it's inequality run riot like comparing the value of a ton of cod roe and spoon of caviar. I've already made up my mind to move out this year so perhaps I'll be able to let it go when I'm in a different 'tin'. Thanks again
Wednesday 24 January 2007 10.24am
What about those of us who aren't lucky enough to own our own flat/house? It's worth is meaningless to us as we have nothing to gain from any increase in value. Why should our council tax be based on the supposed 'wealth' of the occupant?
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