MP Cox accuses government of council tax 'cover-up'

THE Government is deliberately covering up serious problems over the banding of homes for council tax, Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon claimed today. Official papers from the Valuation Office Agency, have shown that many homes are in the wr

THE Government is deliberately covering up serious problems over the banding of homes for council tax, Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon claimed today.

Official papers from the Valuation Office Agency, have shown that many homes are in the wrong band for council tax and families have been paying over the odds for years, he says.

Mr Cox said accidentally leaked minutes revealed that if the tax errors became known, the Government would lose money and would have to pay tax refunds. This was also ruled out since it would generate "adverse press coverage... in the current climate".

The combination of a campaign by money saving expert Martin Lewis, the publication of the leaked minutes and an ITV Tonight documentary, had produced a surge in council tax appeals.


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Now Parliamentary Questions had forced the Government to publish detailed figures on the changes to council tax bands, Mr Cox said.

In the last three years, 190,000 existing homes have had their council tax band changed: 133,985 homes have moved down a band.

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Mr Cox said: "In Torridge and West Devon, 447 homes have moved down a council tax band as a result of appeals. This proves there are serious and systematic errors in the banding of homes, which Ministers have been covering up to save money.

"We now have clear evidence of a council tax cover-up. The Government has been caught red-handed fiddling council tax to make families across the country pay more. Whitehall bureaucrats know that many homes across the country are wrongly banded, but have refused to correct the tax inspectors' errors to save the Government money and save face.

"The whole basis of our tax system is undermined if the state conspires to over-charge the public. Ministers only want to reform the council tax system if it rakes in extra cash for the Treasury's coffers.

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