Up until now I have had the highest regard for the Isle of Wight Council.

In particular, their efforts to check on the most vulnerable of us during the lockdown earlier in the year deserve nothing but the highest praise.

However, I have recently come across a case of bureaucratic absurdity on their part which would not be out of place in the script for an episode of the classic series, Yes Minister.

I have recently bought a new house with my partner, and we have registered to pay the council tax on our new property, based on double occupancy.

However, I have not yet completed on the sale of my former residence, and am therefore still responsible for paying the tax on this property, for which I received a single occupancy reduction in tax; so far, so logical.

I was expecting that, until my sale is completed, I would now pay even less in tax since the house is empty, or at the very least, continue to pay the tax at its current rate.

Instead, I was informed by a polite council official that, not only had this further reduction been abolished several years ago but that I would now have to pay the tax based on the full occupancy rate.

I did point out that, counter-intuitively, this means that I am now paying more tax on an empty house than when I was living there, but the official could only confirm that this was indeed council policy.

I’m not a great fan of Americanisms in general, but there is one expression which sums up this situation rather well: “Go figure!”

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