Check Challenge Appeal – Motion of Regret is step in right direction

Stuart Hicks, Manchester Office, Director - Dunlop HeywoodBy Stuart Hicks, Director

 Rating was back in the political spotlight, briefly, with a recent debate in the House of Lords.

It centres around a “Motion of Regret” that was tabled – this doesn’t seek the cancellation of any provision but draws attention to perceived defects and sometimes offers remedies.

This particular motion concerns the new Check, Challenge Appeal process and the work of the Valuation Tribunal England.

The motion attracted cross-party support, and speakers included Lord Hope of Craighead, Convenor (leader) of the Crossbench peers, and former Deputy President of the Supreme Court.

You only have to take a cursory look at any recent articles on CCA to see that the system is being pilloried from all sides, and that there is a perception that no completely effective system is in place, or likely to be, until next year.

There were suggestions that the Valuation Office Agency is applying its policy in this new process rather than the law, and that this is causing particular difficulties in budget preparations by billing authorities – this is exacerbated by the number of outstanding appeals against assessments and the time being taken to resolve them.

Lord Lytton went on record to specifically praise VOA staff and there was no criticism of the agency or local government. He saved his most scathing remarks for Whitehall and its lack of clarity when it came to answering questions about funding in respect of this stable and cost efficient tax.

The motion was withdrawn after debate (as they usually are) but at least the Minister, has invited further discussions with officials on the back of it. This offer has been eagerly taken up by the IRRV, so we await further developments…

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