Speaking at this week's National Association of Valuation Tribunals annual conference in Stratford upon Avon, environment minister Nick Raynsford said: 'The system of hearing appeals is far too confusing, takes too long and offers poor value for money. Everyone recognises that change is needed - and it is needed now.
'Our research reveals the roles of the Valuation Office and Valuation Tribunal are not clear. To the ratepayer, it can seem as if both services are dealing with their case at the same time. This blurs accountability . . . There are significant economies of scale available in reducing the number of units.'