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Exceptionalism and Entitlement

21st October George Monbiot in The Guardian The government’s secretive Covid contracts are heaping misery on Britain. Bypassing the NHS and handing crucial services to corporate executives has led to the catastrophic failure of test and trace. more Meanwhile,the FT reports: Pakistan demands UK send ex-PM Nawaz Sharif home to be jailed.Former leader has been in London for nearly a year after temporary release from prison on medical grounds

14th October Dominic Cummings must start to pay council tax on Durham lockdown bolthole
Valuation Office Agency ruling also means family will escape 20 years of back taxes on the property. Dominic Cummings’ family must start to pay council tax on the bolthole he escaped to with his wife and child at the height of the coronavirus lockdown, a Government agency has ruled. However, they escaped nearly 20 years of back taxes on the property, on the family’s farm in Durham, which could have left them with a bill running to several thousand pounds. In June, Durham County Council found there had been “historical breaches” of planning and building control regulation during the construction of the property and the conversion of another into two homes. At the time, the council said it could not take enforcement action against the family because of a time limit on such measures and referred the matter to the Valuation Office Agency. The agency’s ruling means that, from this month, the Cummings family will have to pay three separate council tax bills for the homes at North Lodge instead of the one bill they have been paying until now, The Guardian reported. John Hewitt, the council’s director of resources, said: “The current single assessment [for council tax on North Lodge] 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 day on which the rating list is to be amended is a matter for the Valuation Office Agency.” A spokesman for the Valuation Office Agency told The Telegraph: “We treat all taxpayers equally and we value domestic properties in line with legislation. We cannot comment on individual cases.” A Downing Street spokesman declined to comment.  DT

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