Government denies Big Brother property database claim

The government has rubbished accusations by the Conservatives that it is compiling a Big Brother-style electronic database covering every home in the country.

The database will accompany the government’s forthcoming national identity card and children’s databases and can hold an unlimited number of photographs. Almost 500,000 has already been spent on digital cameras to photographically log details of homes.

The Tories have discovered that as of July 3 this year the state has a record of type, age, number of rooms and bedrooms for 99% of all households in England.

They are now warning that the database will be used not only for the forthcoming Council Tax revaluation but also to levy Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax, and will be used by Revenue & Customs.

They also accuse Labour of extending the database to capture value- significant features such as patios, conservatories, large gardens, parking and garage space and even scenic views.

The Office of the Surveillance Commissioner has advised the government that the database is not in breach of human rights.

Eric Pickles, shadow minister for local government, says: “It is clear that faceless Whitehall bureaucrats are rolling out a sinister property photo database. Family homes face a state invasion. Not satisfied with logging the details of every man, woman and child in a Big Brother computer, the government now wants to inspect, photograph and store where they live.”

But a spokesman for the Department of Local Community and Government says the accusations are nonsense and scaremongering.

He adds: “Council Tax was introduced by the previous government and we are updating the information we hold about properties from being paper-based to computer-based.”