No more 'patio tax'. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says he's done away with bureaucrats attempting to ratchet up Treasury income by slapping extra charges on homes with outbuildings, conservatories or garden sheds.

Basically anyone who attempted to significantly improve their property will get a reprieve. Some could see their bills cut.

£300 rise

Previous attempts by Central Government - specifically the Valuation Office Agency, an offshoot of HMRC - to claw back more cash here drew an unsurprisingly hostile response from the public.

But it wasn't just about garden sheds or concrete driveways. Even homes that had a particularly good view or were close to a convenient bus stop risked a valuation hike. For example, a UK home shifting from Band D to Band E could see their annual council tax bill climb by £300. Shifting to Band F would double this rise.


Taxed till you squeak

Caroline Spelman, now Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, tapped into the popular mood when Labour's 'patio tax' started to take shape: "Only Labour would think of taxing people for looking out of their own windows." It was a good line.

These were just the sort of stealth taxes that increasingly gave Labour a rough ride from some voters. An update, if you like, on the hated Window Tax introduced in the 17th century - the bigger the house, the more windows it had. (A tax on air quality and light too - the term 'daylight robbery' probably originated from it).

However the Conservatives risk, you could argue, similar anger on new 'stealth' taxes. Could new road tolls or road charging, for example, rouse public anger in a similar way to the patio tax? Or is road pricing now seen as above the fray? (Even the RAC thinks road pricing is inevitable.)

Check your Council Tax Band here. If you want to challenge your Council Tax banding, click here.



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