London: Britain's richest man L N Mittal is among the few billionaires based here not to seek benefits on his property tax for his palatial house even as wealthy homeowners like the Sultan of Brunei avail discounts on their tax bills.
The 62 year-old NRI steel magnate, with a personal wealth estimated at around 12.7 billion pounds, stood out from a list of other residents of the posh Kensington Palace Gardens in the heart of London by paying the council tax on his property in full.
According to The Sunday Times, many of his neighbours are avoiding complete payment by using discounts on their council tax bills.
Some of the world's richest, who are least likely to need help with their bills, are receiving council tax discounts of 216 pounds on properties worth tens of millions of pounds.
Mittal had acquired the property in what is dubbed as billionaires' row from Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone for 57-million pounds back in 2004, when it was believed to be the most expensive home in Britain.
The house is known for its extravagance with 12 bedrooms, an indoor pool, Turkish baths and parking for 20 cars.
The newspaper report claims that one in five such homes on the street qualified for a tax discount last year as "second homes" or long-term empty properties.
Figures show that the Sultan of Brunei enjoyed a second home discount of 10 percent on his mansion in 2012, reducing his annual bill from 2,158 pounds to 1,942 pounds.
The Saudi royal family's home, opposite the Sultan's house on the same street, was among those which received a similar discount.
The revelation that some of the UK's richest homeowners qualify for council tax discounts will add to growing calls for the system to be overhauled, especially in view of the harsh economic conditions faced by the country.
From April, councils in Britain will have the power to remove the discount, which ranged between 10 and 50 percent depending on the local authority.
The expected savings will go towards helping those on low income with their council tax bills.
First Published: Sunday, January 6, 2013, 20:19