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VALUATION LOOPHOLE CLOSED BY RATES BILL

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MPs this week backed a measure aimed at preventing chaos in the business rating system. ...
MPs this week backed a measure aimed at preventing chaos in the business rating system.

The Rating (Valuation) Bill, which would avert major revaluation of all non-domestic property, passed its second reading by 268 votes to 30.

Local government minister Hilary Armstrong said a Lands Tribunal decision last March could have meant endless challenges, with valuation officers forced into constant revaluations of more than a million properties.

In a case brought by Brighton-based Anston Properties, it was argued successfully that properties could not automatically be presumed to be in a 'reasonable state of repair' and that valuation should reflect the actual condition of the property. Until this ruling, valuers assumed properties were kept in a 'state of reasonable repair'.

The Bill would amend the Local Government Finance Act to restore this assumption.

Conservative MP Simon Burns said his party would not oppose the legislation but warned there was some 'confusion and doubt' about it within professional bodies involved in rating evaluation.

He said there was concern that the legislation could result in more rather than less litigation.

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