Dominic Cummings’ £30k unpaid council tax bill ‘written off’

DOMINIC Cummings and his family ARE liable to pay council tax on a further two properties at their North-East farm, but charges will NOT be backdated to when they were built.

It means that years of unpaid taxes, potentially between £30,000 and £50,000, on two homes built in breach of planning laws will be written off.

Instead, new charges for the properties on the outskirts of Durham will come into effect from the start of this month following an investigation by the Valuation Agency Office.

Durham County Councillor John Shuttleworth said: “They should have informed them (the authorities) and it should have been checked.

“If it was anybody else, they would be getting charged and it would be backdated, or they would be getting taken to court.

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

“We have to abide by the law and it we don’t you get put in prison or you get fined. They are just above it.”

The Northern Echo: Dominic Cummings and his family are now liable for council tax on the cottageDominic Cummings and his family are now liable for council tax on the cottage

Mr Cummings, who built his cottage on the farm with his father in 2002, and was listed as one of the property owners, ignored lockdown guidance to leave London stay there with his wife and son when they started experiencing coronavirus symptoms at the end of March.

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They also famously made an ill-advised trip to Barnard Castle on his wife’s birthday, which he said was to check his eyesight was good enough to drive.

A planning investigation in June, launched after complaints from members of the public, revealed the lockdown cottage at North Lodge on the A167 Darlington Road was in breach of legislation.

Durham County Council said there had been historic breaches of planning building control regulations, but no enforcement action could be taken due to the amount of time that had passed.

Cummings’ property DID breach planning laws

It is understood the council tax will now have to be paid on Dominic Cummings’ band A cottage, and his sister’s band C family home.

The Valuation Agency Office does not comment on individual cases, and the family does not wish to comment on the matter.

Further details of breaches emerged in the planning investigation report

John 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 October 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 the relevant legislation and custom and practice in terms of such changes in accordance with Article 3 of the Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings) Order 1993.”

The Northern Echo | Durham