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Last Updated: Friday, 1 April, 2005, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Homes reassessed for council tax
Row of houses
Not every house will be put into a higher band
The value of every home in England is being reassessed to calculate new council tax payments.

Details of the fresh valuations will be revealed in September 2006 and the new charges will be introduced from 2007.

The last check was carried out in 1991 when the average UK house price was 73,000. It is now just under 180,000.

The BBC's John Andrew said only homes which had risen in value by more than the national average would be moved into a higher tax bracket.

London, the South East and South West are expected to see the largest number of homes moving up the bands.

The revaluation, which begins on Friday, comes a day after the Liberal Democrats detailed plans to abolish the council tax and replace it with a local income tax.

The party revealed its plans on the 15th anniversary of the poll tax riots.

'Transitional relief'

The 1991 evaluation in England came before the tax was introduced. But in Wales, a recent revaluation saw nearly 60% stay in the same tax bracket. About one third did go up more than expected.

Ministers have emphasised the revaluation is about updating property values, not an exercise in raising more money.

Our correspondent says "transitional relief" would be given to cushion the blow to homeowners whose council tax band changes.

"The effects of revaluation will add further strains to a council tax system already under severe pressure and add to the calls for reform," he said.

The Conservatives have said they would offer households where all adults are aged over 65 a rebate covering up to half of their bill, up to 500.

Labour says it would reform the council tax if re-elected. In his recent Budget, Chancellor Gordon Brown offered a one-off 200 refund to pensioners.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See why homes are being revalued




SEE ALSO:
Q&A: Council tax revaluation
01 Apr 05 |  UK Politics
Lib Dems vow to ditch council tax
31 Mar 05 |  UK Politics
Council tax rise 4.1% next year
23 Mar 05 |  UK Politics


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