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WELSH SUFFER AS A RESULT OF COUNCIL TAX REBANDING

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An overhaul of the way Britain's council tax bills are calculated has already led to a doubling of bills in some ar...
An overhaul of the way Britain's council tax bills are calculated has already led to a doubling of bills in some areas of Wales, according to The Sunday Telegraph (Money & Jobs, p1).

All council tax bands across Britain are being changed but the new system will first take effect in Wales in April 2005 - the rest of Britain will follow in April 2007. Thousands of homeowners in Wales have just learned their council tax will double in 2005, following a rebanding of properties by the Inland Revenue's Valuation Office agency.

The revenue has also introduced a ninth band - Band I - for properties in Wales valued at more than £424,000. There is a belief that the recalculations in Wales will be a template for the rest of Britain. The values of properties in fashionable Cardiff and picturesque valleys have rocketed in recent years, propelling many homes occupied by people on low incomes into high brackets.

Plaid Cymru's Alun Ffred Jones, a member of the Welsh Assembly, has two constituents who are to be moved from Band B to Band F. When the new system is introduced, their annual council tax bill will increase from around £650 to £1,200. Mr Jones said: 'They are not alone; this is happening across Wales'.

Christine Melsom, founder of the internet-based council tax protest group Is It Fair, said: 'This is terrifying news. Property prices have risen so much more in England than in Wales. English people will not be able to afford similar increases either'.
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