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Labour to raise Enfield council tax, Conservatives say

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Philip Hammond was in Enfield to support Nick de Bois, the Conservative Party candidate for Enfield North

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond uses Haber interview to say new land value tax would cost thousands of pounds in North London

Council taxes in Enfield would increase by an average of £5,000 if Labour wins next week’s election, Chancellor Philip Hammond told Haber this week.

Mr Hammond visited Enfield on Thursday to support Nick de Bois, the Conservative candidate in Enfield North. He said Labour’s plans to reform council tax – the principal source of funds for local government – amounted to a “stealth tax”.

Labour’s manifesto says if elected the party would review council tax and “consider new options such as a land value tax, to ensure local government has sustainable funding for the long term”.

The Chancellor said this could mean gardens would be sold off to build houses and reduce council tax.

But a Labour spokeswoman described Mr Hammond’s remarks as “an outright Tory lie”.

Average council tax rates in Haringey was rise by £8,351 and in Hackney by £8,581, he added.

“A Land Value Tax at 3 percent will more than triple the average council tax that’s being paid across the country,” he told Haber.

“Because it taxes land value rather than buildings it will create a strong incentive for people to try and sell off gardens and for local authorities to give permission for garden-grabbing developments – something which we tried to stop after John Prescott’s disastrous venture in that direction.

“This is a stealth tax because they never announced it, they never made a big announcement about it but as they’ve come under pressure they’ve pointed to it as one of the ways in which they will be raising additional revenue.”

Labour denial

Mr Hammond confirmed that a Conservative government had no plans to revalue the council tax base and calculations would use the model that is based on 1991 house prices.

A Labour spokeswoman told Haber: “This is an outright Tory lie designed to distract from an actual policy at this election which is Theresa May’ s dementia tax that wants to rob pensioners of their homes.

“For many pensioners under the Tories’s plans, the older you are the harder it will be to heat your home and keep your home.

“Labour has not discussed a so-called ‘garden tax’, does not have a ‘garden tax’ in its manifesto, will not introduce a ‘garden tax’ and does not recognise any of the claims being made by the Tories.”

Ankara agreement promise

The Chancellor repeated Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s pledge to create a successor arrangement to the Ankara Agreement, a European visa route used by Turkish citizens to set up businesses in the UK.

He declined to explicitly guarantee people currently working under Ankara rules will eventually be able to apply for British citizenship, but suggested those in the country right now will be able to retain their rights.

Mr Hammond said: “On both sides of the referendum debate, and in really quite stark contrast to some of the political debate in some other countries, people have been saying very clearly that those who are here should be allowed to stay, those who are here should have their rights respected, there should be no change.”