Dominic Cummings ‘has years of unpaid council tax bill on two homes written off’

Dominic Cummings ‘has years of unpaid council tax bill on two homes written off’

 

Dominic Cummings and his family are liable to pay council tax for properties on their Durham farm – but it will not be backdated.

It means that years of unpaid taxes on two homes will be written off.

Instead, new charges for the properties will start this month following an investigation by the Valuation Agency Office.

Durham County Councillor John Shuttleworth attacked the move, saying: “They should have informed authorities and it should have been checked.

“If it was anybody else, they would be getting charged and it would be backdated.

“It just proves there are two sets of rules, one for them and another for everyone else. It is not right.”

Planning documents suggest a cottage was built on the farm owned by Mr Cummings’ father in 2002.

It is unclear how much council tax, introduced in England in 1993, could have been charged for the property, but it is likely to add up to thousands of pounds.

Mr Cummings was listed as one of the property owners.

A joint Mirror and Guardian investigation revealed that the Prime Minister’s aide ignored lockdown guidance to leave London and stay on the farm with his wife and son when they started experiencing coronavirus symptoms at the end of March.

They also famously made an ill-advised trip to Barnard Castle on his wife’s birthday.  Mr Cummings claimed that he was checking to see if his eyesight was good enough to drive.

On Tuesday, Durham County Council said no enforcement action could be taken with regard to alleged historic planning breaches due to the amount of time that had passed.

The Valuation Agency Office does not comment on individual cases, and Mr Cummings’ family declined to comment at the farm last night.

Mr Hewitt, corporate director of resources at Durham County Council, said:

“I can confirm that the Valuation Office Agency have concluded their inspection and provided us with details of the required changes to the valuation list in respect of North Lodge, where the current single assessment will be replaced with three entries in the rating list going forward.

“These changes will be implemented with effect from Oct 4, 2020, which is the date we have been instructed to apply the changes from.

“The date from which the rating list is to be amended is a matter for the Valuation Office Agency.  We are instructed that they have made their assessment in line with relevant legislation and custom and practice in terms of such changes in accordance with Article 3 of the Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings) Order 1993.”

Downing Street declined to comment.

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