Anorak News | Free House

Free House

by | 13th, January 2006

‘JOHN Prescott does not do things by halves. He does things in twos. He does two fingers. He does two jabs. And, famously, he does two Jags.

Unkind critics might even refer to the Deputy Prime Minister’s two chins, and his two faces, which enable him Janus-like to run the council-tax system while not paying his dues.

As the Express screams from its front page, the words hanging like a pall over a photo of a grinning Prezza: “JAIL THIS COUNCIL TAX CHEAT.”

You see, Prezza has more than one house. No surprise there for the man who has talked of “the tremendous demand for housing”. We may not have believed he was referring to his own needs when he said it, but we now stand corrected.

Prezza has three houses. As the Mail shows by way of a pictorial montage, Prezza has a home in Hull, a grand residence with castellated walls and buttresses. He also has the use of Dorneywood, Buckinghamshire.

And since Labour came to power, Prezza has enjoyed living in Admiralty House, Whitehall. And it is this last property that has led to calls for his incarceration.

As the Mail so succinctly puts it in its headline: “While your council tax soared, Prezza wasn’t paying his.” Honest John has admitted that for the last eight years he has not paid a single penny in council tax on his Admiralty Arch flat.

Cabinet Office rules clearly state that if the grace-and-favour home, such as Admiralty Arch, is the main residence, then responsibility for paying council tax is down to the minister who lives there.

And if Prezza can’t understand that, he has lots and lots of paid advisors to help him keep abreast of the rules. He can even discuss it with his neighbours, Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett and Commons Leader Geoff Hoon, who both pay their council tax in full.

But something went wrong. And none of it was Prezza’s fault, not really. The Mirror brands Prezza “blundering”, and hears him apologise for his “inadvertent error”, a “genuine misunderstanding”.

And to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, Prezza is insisting in the strongest language possible that in future all council tax bills relating to the property are sent “directly and personally” to him.

As such, Prezza might like to note that the current fee for living in this Band H London pad is £1,236. And, in case he misunderstands, that is in pounds sterling and payable not just once but every year.’

Posted: 13th, January 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink