Search engines saw an explosion in the number of Britons searching for Council Tax last week after a documentary showed how thousands may be elligible for a rebate.

Martyn Lewis of Moneysavingexpert.com appeared on TV to report how hundreds of users of his site’s forum had claimed up to £1,000 because their homes were incorrectly banded.

That prompted an avalanche of search traffic form rate-payers Googling for more information, according to data from Hitwise.

“The share of searches for “council tax” were 40% higher than for “paris hilton”, overtaking the celebrity for the first time in the past two years,”
said Hitwise’s Heather Hopkins.

“The results … offer an excellent case study of the power of cross-media promotion.”

The share of searchers visiting the Valuation Office Agency rocketed by 30%, Hopkins said, giving it the dubious honour of being the third most popular government website.