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Local Taxation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:04 pm on 4th July 2005.

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Photo of Nick Raynsford Nick Raynsford Labour, Greenwich and Woolwich 5:04 pm, 4th July 2005

It is completely untenable, for reasons that I shall outline, to have a values system based on historic values without any revaluation. Let me tell the hon. Lady why.

First, there is the nonsense of new properties being built where a notional value must be imputed as to what that property might have been worth 15 years ago. That is difficult enough if one is building a property in a developed area, but in an area which was previously entirely undeveloped, it is a completely ludicrous process. Secondly, when properties change hands and new values are applied, unfairness will inevitably be created. Two identical properties next to each other will have different valuations, purely as a result of a change of ownership in the intervening period, which is absolutely intellectually incoherent. Thirdly, the whole system is increasingly out of date, because it is based on values created 15 years ago. For all those reasons, it is intellectually and economically illiterate to suggest that one can have a system of council tax without the need for periodic revaluation. That is why we introduced arrangements for a regular 10-yearly revaluation. The Conservatives made fun of the Liberal Democrats for voting in favour of revaluation during the Committee stage of the Bill that became the Local Government Act 2003. The Liberal Democrats said that they did not vote for it on Third Reading. They do not seem to know where they stand.