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Article posted May 06 2010, 5:42 PM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: The Daily Mail Print

The council snoopers sizing up your garden for a 'tax database'

By Steve Doughty

Details of every garden in England have been put on a database by government officials.

The aim is to use the information to justify increased council tax bills after the election.

The 'garden tax' database, called the Geographical Information System, records even minor features of the land a home occupies. For example it shows if a driveway is shared and the size of side passages at end-of-terrace houses.

Neighbourhood watch: The details of every garden in England have been included on a new database

It will tell councils setting local taxes if they should increase their bills because a home has a good view, for example of a golf course or a lake.

The database has been prepared by the Valuation Office Agency which values homes for council tax and gives advice to ministers. Its existence was disclosed following Freedom of Information requests.

The system, which is still collecting data, is scheduled to be available in July to provide extra information for the agency's 'automated valuation model' which already provides basic details of the 21.7million homes in England.

Ministers have spent 3.4million on setting up the GIS to supply full information on gardens.

At present, officials believe they do not have correct data on the size and contents of more than one in ten gardens and yards surrounding houses and flats.

Information for the GIS is gathered from Valuation Office partners such as mapping group Ordnance Survey and air photography companies.

The data will become useful if a returned Labour government goes ahead with a revaluation of homes in England which is expected to mean a major rise in council tax bills for four million homes.

It would take into account alterations which have added value to houses like conservatories and extra bedrooms. It would also mean higher bills for those with swimming pools, summer houses, nearby parks and public transport links.

Tory local government spokesman Caroline Spelman said the GIS 'is clear evidence Gordon Brown is planning a garden tax after the election'.

A VOA spokesman a said: 'The system has been acquired to support the current work of the VOA, as we have a statutory duty to maintain accurate council tax and rating lists.'





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Comments 1 - 2 of 2 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
1stcleanharry

Posted: May 07 2010, 12:25 PM

Link
Get out while you still can.
The election results are in, you thought you were on a bumpy ride its gonna get more than bumpier.
This merger was well foreseen, welcome to the one party system.
God help you all.

HH
intheknow

Posted: May 18 2010, 3:33 PM

Link
8220 Just like the numerous other council tax stories the press have peddled in recent times, this is yet another sensationalist, fact-twisting, near-fictional scare-story, fed to them by the Tory's propaganda department.

Now the Tories are in charge, you will hear nothing more about this. Not because they've swept in like knights in shining armour to right all the sinister Labour wrongdoings, but because there's nothing happening that they wouldn't have done anyway in that more and more technology not available 20 years ago when council tax started, is being utilised to carry out existing and long standing statutory duties more efficiently and accurately.

Fall for this, and you are a fool.


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