Hot on the heels of the news that the government wants the details of patients opting out of the wonderful new NHS computer system to be sent to the Health Secretary (so that he can tell them they have no choice in the matter), comes the news that the government is buying up the Rightmove database - containing details on most of the property advertised in the UK over the last 10 years. I believe a majority of estate agents are signed up to Rightmove - 10,800 according to their website.
Government officials have been given access to a vast database of properties, revealing their sale prices and detailed floorplans, under a deal with the website Rightmove.co.uk.
The site, run by four of Britain's biggest estate agents, contains information on 800,000 properties - and the contract, which runs until 2008, also gives inspectors access to old records.
The Valuation Office Agency - the department of HM Revenue & Customs that allocates a council tax band to every home in England and Wales - will be able to use the data to find out about improvements such as double-glazing and conservatories that may increase tax bills.