Sunday, September 13, 2009

An Englishman's Home Is STILL His Castle

Not content with putting us all under suspicion of being potential paedos, this insufferable government has another Big Brother plan for us. Caroline Spelman has just issues this press release.

New evidence emerged today of Gordon Brown’s secret plans for council tax hikes on family homes. A new electronic Government tax handbook, complete with audio commentary, reveals how taxmen are being trained to conduct inspections of people’s homes and tax every home improvement and room. The exposure of the Government’s so-called “e-Learning Council Tax Programme” destroys the credibility of Labour Ministers’ claims to have postponed a council tax revaluation in England.

• Big Brother database: Inspectors are hold how a new “Central Database” has been created with "pen pictures" of every home in the country. It is "easy" to gather information and "this important database must be maintained and improved" and "updated at every opportunity".
• Sizing up every garden, bedroom and bathroom: The plot size of every garden must be recorded, as well as the space and dimensions of every room inside a home. Inspectors are told to raid town hall planning departments, estate agents and developers' records. Ensuite bedrooms are targeted for particular scrutiny. Asked how to compile the information, the answer is given: "there are numerous sources of information available that will reveal clues... The most obvious is a physical inspection of a dwelling".
• Paparazzi inspectors: Photographs must be taken of all "value significant factors" and saved on the central database - though the snoopers are advised: "photographing of a person’s home is a matter than requires tact and diplomacy". Scenic views are explicitly to be taxed, with an example test explaining how to value a home with two ensuite bathrooms and a "partial view of the mountains".
• Windows tax: With shades of a modern-day windows tax, every home’s windows must also be inspected and logged – with the taxmen told how to distinguish between "sliding sash windows" and "round bay timber framed" using "detective work".

Caroline Spelman MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, said:
“Labour Ministers have been caught red-handed training a cadre of state snoopers for a council tax revaluation in England. These new electronic learning tools blow out of the water any claims that the revaluation has been postponed, and proves the more tax hikes are on the cards for after the election if Gordon Brown clings to power.

“Families face being taxed for their sash windows and en-suite bathrooms. There is nothing that Gordon Brown won’t tax. State bureaucrats are being trained to measure up people’s homes and gardens and take intrusive photographs for a sinister Big Brother database. These inspectors have alarming powers to enter people’s homes - and there is clear evidence that they now intend to exercise them.

“A Conservative Government will protect hard-working families from this home invasion; we will cancel the revaluation and abolish council tax inspectors’ right of entry.”

Now, even allowing for political hyperbole, this takes some beating. How dare the government think it has the right to enter my home. If anyone comes knocking on the door of Dale Towers from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council they will get some pretty short shrift. They won't be allowed in.


Tom said...

Sounds exactly Domesday book. I thought we lived in the 21st Century? Apparently not.

Anonymous said...

The solution is simple do not have any aspiration.

What's the point?

This could be called a modern window tax - but in reality it is an unprecedented Aspiration Tax.

Neil A said...

Then they will merely revalue your house from the outside, along with any relevant records they can obtain.

It seems to me the only real news here is that the government (or one of its departments at least) is tooling up for a revaluation without being totally honest about the fact.

Presumably, if your home had some major internal defects, failing to let inspectors in could actually cost you money. They might revalue your home based on the sale price of the house next door.

Anonymous said...

There are many aspects of Brown's lunatic proposal.

Just one point, the message is let your home go to rack and ruin. You will save tam money. Brown is a lunatic pills or no pills.


The Purpleline said...

You will be first in line Mr Dale.

By the way how was your Green room experience with the socialist and marxist Alexi today?

You missed your chance to make history, you could have asked jug ears if the BBC were going to report and seek the truth about the mental health of Brown.

We only have three weeks before the IRA-ish vote Yes and effectively tie the red ribbon gift package parcel of England up to the EU. After that result we all know Brown will retire on health grounds. THE MANDY LEAKS WILL DO FOR HIM

Anonymous said...

Whats one more Scotch communist far-left wing extremist at McDooning street as Broon bolsters the doomed Scottish Raj for its final ever hurrah!.

Woman who heckled Tony Blair appointed key adviser to Gordon Brown
Kirsty McNeill, a former left-wing activist who once heckled Tony Blair, has been promoted to become one of Gordon Brown’s key aides in the run-up to the next general election.

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor
Published: 2:17PM BST 13 Sep 2009

Miss McNeill, a former Glasgow councillor, is expected to become one of the Prime Minister’s “gatekeepers” who will play an important role planning Labour’s campaign.

Miss McNeill, 29, is currently a speechwriter for Mr Brown but has now been promoted to his adviser in charge of external affairs.

In 2000, she was among those organising a protest against Labour education policy when she is said to have shouted at Mr Blair: “Are you Thatcher in disguise?”

However, her previous antagonism to the Labour Government has not hindered Miss McNeill’s rapid rise since joining the Downing Street staff last year. But, Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, is reported to be uneasy at the influence she now wields.

She first came to Mr Brown’s attention for her work with development charities at the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles. Downing Street insiders said she has the unusual ability of being able to articulate the Prime Minister’s thoughts into speeches. Aides say she is one of the few people to have successfully mastered a fluent form of “Gordon speak”.

She solidified her position in Downing Street last year when she wrote his key address to the Labour Party conference.

The 29-year old went to school in Glasgow before attending Balliol College, Oxford. She became President of the Oxford University Student Union and a world debating champion before starting her career at the homeless charity Shelter.

Miss McNeill is also believed to harbour her own political ambitions and has previously attempted to become an MP – representing Southwark in south London.

A Number 10 aide said: “Kirsty is a key aide and is involved across the board in engaging with stakeholders.”

The speechwriter’s promotion comes amid reports that Mr Brown is struggling to persuade former Labour staffers to return to Downing Street for the general election. Spencer Livermore, his former adviser, is said to have ruled out a return. It is also not clear whether former aides to Mr Blair, such as Alistair Campbell, will be prepared to play key roles in the forthcoming campaign.

Other key Number 10 advisers are hoping to stand for Parliament at the next election which is likely to present the Prime Minister with further staffing problems.

Anonymous said...

tory councils like mine will never dare do such a thing surely? if gthey do, or if any tory council dares, rest assured im sure iaindale will be thr first to expose them

Plato said...

Is it April 1st?

What are they thinking of?

Anonymous said...

or look at it this way Iain - council tax (introduced by the tories) is a property based tax- as such it is important that councils have a proper valuation - that means - extensions etc, which may add to the value, need to be recorded to set the right tax level. That way lies some fairness. I guess you are suggesting that council tax officers should not be equipped with this information - which means they will get it wrong and that would be somewhat more problematic. STOP being such a patsy and regurgitating CCHQ press releases.

Rob said...

Anyone that comes snooping round my house will be greeted by a very strong dog who has a healthy distrust of trespassers. If the government still wants to run this gauntlet then bully to them for their bravery.

They'll not get something like this through parliament. Even their own ranks are in a rebellious mood. In fact I can't see them passing any drama-free legislation between now and the GE. Which Labour MP wants to campaign in his constituency after supporting a tax on someone's B+Q decking out their back garden?

Do they want us all to live in hovels?

Mark Fulford said...

This is clearly not a zero-sum revaluation. It’s a way to increase Council Tax receipts.

strapworld said...

Dale Towers is not as safe as you may think.

So many organisations have the right to enter your premises, even when you are not in attendance.

Perhaps Ms Spellman could assure us all these organisations will have their right to enter refused by a future Conservative Government?

No doubt, on this particular story, IF you can refuse them entry -and I doubt if they will allow such refusal, they will assume changes have been made and increase your council tax to the maximum!

The only way you could have it properly assessed would be by allowing them access!!

The Conservatives have got to return the castle to every englishman!

Anonymous said...


I suspect it ill becomes any MP to complain, it would be interesting to see which "powers of entry" MPs have acquiesed in when passing or not opposing clauses in legislation. A retrospective trawl through the Parliamnetary archives would, I guess, be embarassing for 98+%. I have to be anonymous as I work in the public sector.

gildedtumbril said...

An Englishman's home was never his castle, unless it was a bloody castle. It is a miserable little hovel in constant need of extension and or refurbishment, and under threat of 'regeneration'. Regeneration is code for even smaller crapholes.

moorlandhunter said...

Is this this for real, or am I just thick in thinking that it is wind up? I certainly hope so, because I'd rather be thick than this idea by Brown and his loathsome meddling, anti freedom gov be true.
Am I thick, please tell me I am!

Wight Tory said...

And is this new?

Ed said...

Actually it really is quite simple. Humans are naturally just selfish and greedy. These innate qualities are counter-productive for the good of society and thus humans need to be subordinate to the State which, naturally, only has the good of society as its aim.

Long live the power of the State!

There is no need for revolution comrades, we have already achieved our aims. Long live the State!


Local Govt. Memory said...

The Poll Tax would have been popular had Maggie actually done the rates revaluation which she kept putting off...

However, its worth asking yourself which parties will have to enforce this revaluation given the number of Labour controlled councils.

Raedwald said...

This doesn't worry me in the least.

For a start, if everyone's house were suddenly moved up a band, the total additional Council Tax collected would be If just your house were moved up a band the total additional Council tax collected would also be zero.

Secondly, the 1991 values on which the bands are based are slipshod and inaccurate and any responsible administration would work to refine them and keep them up to date.

Thirdly, here in London, Council Tax increases have been kept low by the volume of additional homes that were built - a bigger tax-base means lower taxes for all if expenditure remains constant. But if your open view has been disfigured by this new development you can argue for a reduction in banding - gaining on both counts

Fourthly, current policy is never to change the band UP until you sell the house - so as not to discourage improvements.

If Cameron is serious about Localism, which will mean taxes shifting from central to local, it may be that property value is an even more important tax-determinant in the future than it is now - and an accurate valuation base will be critical to ensure fair local taxation.

Colin said...

What's the worry?

All we need is for Dave and his chums to release a statement to the effect that this will never happen under a tory government. And, should it come into force prior to the regime being put to the electoral sword, a statement saying they'll scrap it. Simples...

Kay Tie said...

"How dare the government think it has the right to enter my home."

It doesn't think it has the right. It has the right. Under section 26 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

Notice the date? Why yes, it was indeed the Tories that gave the Government the right to enter your home to value it for Council Tax.

Perhaps the Tories ought the recognise how their illiberal laws will be abused by New Labour and commit themselves to rolling back the powers of the state.

Anonymous said...

But how else is a council tax re-evaluation going to take place? Council tax bands are based on the value of a property, and the value of a property is based on all these things you mention. I do not see any other way around it, except perhaps to adopt a tax we all pay and the same rate.

No, hang on, we tried that and it wasn't too popular, was it?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3.01

Council tax is just another version of the 'rates' (which were introduced by the Tudors), except where pensioners live on there own get a 50% discount.

Revaluing on the basis of having a nice view or an en-suite is just a nasty labour scam.

DiscoveredJoys said...

Perhaps we should all buy in some suitable music to play loudly when the House Finder Generals call?

'The Red Flag', or possibly 'Taxman' by the Beatles? Or 'Youv'e got to pick a pocket or two' from Oliver?

Joe Public said...

Look on the bright side.

Many MPs will have to pay twice.

And extra too, consider all the improvements us Taxpayers have paid for, on their houses.

Stronghold Barricades said...

Have to agree with Kay Tie

You may well find that barring the council's way will land you in even more trouble

Lola said...

Bring on LVT.

Anonymous said...

We should revalue homes because relative values do change, but we should do it when they are sold or have work done to them which requires planning consent.

That way the buyer or owner can factor increased tax in to their decisions.

Anonymous said...

It would be much simpler just to increase taxation rather than find an excuse for another huge government database and tens of thousands of state employees to gather the data and maintain the database. it would be no surprise if the cost of the operation exceeds the extra taxation or at least negates the largest chunk of it.
PS will the database ever work this side of 2100?

JMB said...

I had better cover up my open fireplace before they bring the Hearth Tax back.

Will we start seeing windows bricked up as in the 18th Century?

the cruiser said...

What worries me is that the Tories won't be any different. Such cowardice at the moment. I don't understand why they don't want to look more different to Labour than they do.

bewick said...

Well actually the value of anything is only what someone is prepared to pay for it. Perhaps I should now scrap my plans to refurbish (after 20 years of neglect)

I should like to know how to get the 50% discount quoted. I'm a pensioner living alone and I get only 25% just like any person living alone.

Maggie was right - poll tax is by far the fairest way but she was defeated by lefties most of whom wouldn't have had to pay anyway because they were on benefits.

True Belle said...

When the government plaster the countryside with new homes, there won't be any views left anyway.

This country will end up looking like a souless Soviet state quicker than we think.

Cynic said...

"Sounds exactly Domesday book."

Yep ....we are now serfs

Cynic said...

It looks like this is probably Directed Surveillence under RIPA and may also be Intrusive Surveillence if a device is used eg a camera


Section 26(2) of RIPA: Covert, but not intrusive, and undertaken

for a specific investigation or operation
in a manner likely to obtain private information about an individual (whether or not that person is specifically targeted for purposes of an investigation); and
not as an immediate response to events which would otherwise make seeking authorisation under the Act unreasonable eg spotting something suspicious and continuing to observe it.


Section 26(3) of RIPA: Only if covert and

carried out in relation to anything taking place on residential premises or in a private vehicle; and
involves the presence of an individual on the premises or vehicle or is carried out by a surveillance device.

Private information is:-

Section 26(10) of RIPA: In relation to a person, includes any information relating to his private or family life.

This means that all such information gathering exercises must be authorised in advance by a senior official.

Directed Surveillence can be authorised by a council. Intrusive surveillence can only be used by police or a law enforcement agency and with the prior approval of a Surveillence Commissioner

What they are doing therefore may be illegal and may breach RIPA. t

I suggest that you write to any council involved in this and demand a copy of the policy papers on any survellience operations. If you dont get a satifsfactory answer complain to the Office of the Surveillence Commissioner

Anonymous said...

If I owned a home I'd be with you

Lady Finchley said...

I'd like to see some Council flunkie TRY to get past me. And if I see anyone with a camera taking a photo of MY house I will knock it out of the f-ing hand.

niconoclast said...

An Englishman's home is his Council's. Mass non payment of council tax is the only answer but because people have been enslaved by mindless conformity to State whim this is unlikely.You cannot have a tax revolt until the British people realise that taxation is the tool of tyranny.The Tories will not re educate them as their only response is to say we will tyranise you slightly less than Neue Labour.

Anonymous said...

any chance of the Tories cancelling the revaluation which was inflicted on Wales a few years back? In the (admittedly anglicised and prosperous) town in the Vale where I live, about 2/3 of homes went up at least one band, and quite a few went up two. And that was without any snooping visits.

wonkotsane said...

Have you not seen the list of quangocrats and sundry "officials" that have the power to inspect your home? Even the regional development agency and regional assembly for your euroregion have the power to enter your property for the purposes of valuation.

Martin S said...

This is more doomsday than domesday.

True Belle said...

Has Google street view given any one ideas?

Dimoto said...

The really frightening bit, is the number of posters on here desperately trying to justify this nonsense.

Anonymous said...


Elby the Beserk said...

WTF? Posted the link to this article on Henry Porter's column on CiF, they deleted it, and are now subjecting ALL my posts to pre-moderation.


Anonymous said...

Bring back the pole tax

tories, stand up to the mark said...

A typical bit of Labour sleight-of-hand. However (as commented earlier)it is not the first to build upon foundations laid by the Tories when they were in power.

It is simple Spelman - promise to scrap it, along with ID cards, DNA databases, the ISA and everything else that Blair introduced to reduce us to a Stasi State.

Elby the Beserk said...

And they deleted the comment I made which linked to the Times article on the insertion of Union members into the Civil Service.


JMT said...

"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the crown. It may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter! - all his force dares not cross the threshhold of the ruined tenement!
- William Pitt the Elder"

What has gone wrong?

Tedgar said...

How invigorating to hear well-heeled Tories squeal about paying taxes and defiantly resolve (at least to readers, here) to withhold compliance!

As one of the great unwashed who has, for forty years, suffered the finger-wagging of those Tories at my complaints about their taxes, like Council tax indeed, I would just like to respond: 'Suffer, you hypocritical b*****ds! It's no more than you deserve'