Feeling right ripped off

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‘Rip off Britain’. We have all heard the phrase and ourselves have been ripped off at some stage. But do we really expect to be ripped off by the people or government bodies that we have voted for and who we pay to look after our interests?

In these hard times when we are all having to make sacrifices to make ends meet I was mortified to receive an updated council tax bill which had been hiked by an extra 50 per cent for a property we have renovated.

This tax has been recently introduced by the present government and is for properties that have been empty for more than two years.

Local authorities have the option whether to apply it or not.

We have owned this property for 18 months. It was in a derelict state when purchased.

We have refurbished the property and it is now on the market. In the present climate sales are slow.

I am struggling to understand Lancaster City Council’s long term expectation of what they will achieve by introducing this tax.

Over the last 12 months it has been stated on the news that there is a nationwide housing shortage.

Building has flat-lined and building industry jobs are at an all-time low.

I fail to see how introducing this tax in the Lancaster and Morecambe area, with its high number of empty and run down properties, will encourage investors such as myself to invest in this area.

A number of properties that we have considered have been empty for a considerable time. If we now go ahead and invest in any of these we will be penalised by the council.

Taking into consideration the time involved in restoring and selling a property, this extra cost has to be taken into consideration.

This extra tax will affect sales of properties that need restoring and properties that have been inherited, but cannot be sold or rented due to probate, will incur this tax.

This tax is shortsighted and counterproductive. Lancaster City Council’s greed will affect the regeneration area. This tax adds insult to injury.

Earlier this year I wrote about Lancaster City Council’s residents parking scheme and how it is operated. I received a letter from the local MP stating that parking disputes are not part of his remit and a letter from the council telling me I should run, not walk, when making deliveries in areas covered by these schemes.

One would expect that when we are paying 75% more tax than a household does with one person living in it, we would qualify for a parking permit, but we are still told “no”.

Also as we don’t live these we don’t get bins emptied or any of the other services residents do.

One last point.

E-On has introduced a standing charge of £8 a month for its gas supply. It would seem that

Lancaster City Council is not on its own wanting to charge something for nothing.

Don’t worry about rip off Britain. Worry about those closer to home, rip off Lancaster City Council.

John Sharp

Lancaster Road