A revolution in the most unlikely of places?

A revolution in the most unlikely of places?

I was very glad that my old friend and parishioner Cliff Morrey continues to wage war against the forces of bureaucracy!

17 households from one street challenge council tax bands and share £50,000 refund

Residents from a street in Solihull have been refunded £49,000 after 17 neighbours challenged their council tax bands.

The valuers’ office said it was ‘not aware’ of a widespread problem with council tax bands 

Residents from a street in Solihull have been refunded £49,000 after 17 neighbours challenged their council tax bands.

Cliff Morrey, who has lived on Woodrow Crescent for the past 20 years, started the challenge. He said: “Of the 108 houses in my street, 22 were ‘F’ banded when it’s believed they should have been ‘E’.

“Already 17 households on the street will now get refunds and I believe there could be more houses incorrectly banded in the area too.”

Mr Morrey said he believed that when the properties were valued for council tax purposes there was some sort of panic and it was done in a rush.

He said: “There didn’t seem to be any reason why the houses that were banded ‘F’ would be a higher value – it almost looked like houses were picked at random. Surely if there were this many mistakes on my street, the whole area could be at risk.”

In 1991, many properties were given “drive-by” valuations to assess which band they should be in. As a result, many ended up in the wrong band, causing some home owners to pay more than needed. Figures show that 210,000 homes in England have had their council tax band changed since 2006 and almost 70pc were found to have paid too much.

But what does this mean for council tax payers in other parts of the country? If 17 properties are affected in one street, is this indicative of a more widespread problem?

Phil Gillen of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) said: “If a band review of a property results in a reduction or increase in the council tax band, the VOA will automatically review the bands of similar properties nearby.

“We are not aware of a widespread problem, as the number of band changes made by the VOA in any one year is very small fraction of the total number of dwellings in valuation lists.”

Mr Morrey, 72, said that the residents began the challenge in January and that, while it was a success, the procedure was unduly long and drawn out.

Andrew Hodgson of Solihull council said: “As soon as the council are notified of a change in banding from the Valuation Office we alter the person’s account in line with the valuation officer’s recommendations.

“We have had a number of reclassifications of council tax bands for houses on this street over the past few months and are advising residents where an account is in credit as a consequence of a change being applied.”

2 thoughts on “A revolution in the most unlikely of places?

  1. Good evening James, You, quite rightly, picked up my intense dislike of bureaucracy. I am currently trying to help one of your ex Temple Balsall Parishioners to recover some overpaid tax from Her Majesties Revenue and Customs. I have a simple question for them but its like trying to win the Lottery to make contact with their helpline. Therefore do you think it possible, when you are next chatting over your garden fence, to ask your neighbour to ask the Revenue to give me a call please!!! Thanks, Cliff

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