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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 March, 2005, 20:09 GMT
Council taxes 'best in Britain'
Thousands of Welsh homes have been rebanded
Wales is getting a better deal on council tax bills than anywhere else in Britain, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has claimed.

The WLGA, which represents councils, has said the average bill will go up by 34 next year - which, at 3.8%, makes it the lowest ever rise in Wales.

But many householders will not notice any saving, because thousands of homes have just been rebanded.

The WLGA urged people to check if they were eligible for council tax benefits.

Spokesman Steve Thomas said: "We are aware that in terms of the claiming of council tax relief, something like 50% of people who are entitled to that benefit do not claim it."

He said the recent revaluation had been necessary because it had not been done for around 13 years.

"We have a council tax which is a property tax and, if it is to be a viable tax, it has got to be based on up-to-date valuations of the properties. "

Gwen Charles
Gwen Charles said the council tax system was unfair

The changes announced last September saw 33% of homes going up a band, and only 8% moving down.

But Gwen Charles, who lives near Chepstow in south Wales, said the system was flawed.

Her property has been moved up three bands, which will see her bills rise from 900 a year to 1,600 in the next three years.

"The total system is wrong. There must be a better simpler or more fair way of doing it," she said.

"It cannot possibly be the right way to do it."

Welsh finance minister Sue Essex had warned local authorities against making big rises in their council tax bills.

An assembly statement said: "The assembly government provided councils across Wales with a fair settlement that allowed them to develop local services and set reasonable budgets that limit council tax increases."

Councils' call over tax bills
02 Dec 04 |  Wales

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