House of Commons
|Session 2005 - 06|
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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)
|Council Tax (New Valuation Lists For England) Bill|
These notes refer to the Council Tax (New Valuation Lists for England) Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 13th October 2005 [Bill 57]
COUNCIL TAX (NEW VALUATION LISTS FOR ENGLAND) BILL
1. These explanatory notes relate to the Council Tax (New Valuation Lists for England) Bill as introduced into the House of Commons on 13th October 2005. They have been prepared by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.
2. The notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not seem to require an explanation or comment, none is given.
3. The Bill removes the current requirements in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 ("the 1992 Act") for there to be a revaluation of domestic properties, in England, for council tax purposes on 1 April 2007 and then at intervals of not more than 10 years. These requirements are replaced with a power for the Secretary of State to set the date of the next revaluation and of further revaluations. The Secretary of State will specify by order, for England, the year in which each new valuation list must be compiled (that is to say, the year in which a revaluation must take place). The new list will always be required to be compiled on the 1 April in the specified year. The orders will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure in the House of Commons.
[Bill 57-EN] 54/1
4. The 1992 Act introduced the council tax from 1 April 1993 with valuations of domestic properties based on values at 1 April 1991. The Act did not require council tax valuations to be updated and new council tax valuation lists to be prepared. The 2001 White Paper "Strong Local Leadership - Quality Public Services" 1 subsequently recognised the importance of keeping property values up to date. It committed the Government to a first revaluation in England to be completed in time for council tax bills issued in 2007, with subsequent revaluations every 10 years after that.
1 CM 5237
5. The Local Government Act 2003 accordingly amended the 1992 Act to give statutory force to that commitment. Section 77 of that Act inserted a new section 22B into the 1992 Act, requiring the listing officer of each billing authority to compile new valuation lists for domestic properties in England on 1 April 2007, and subsequently on the 10th anniversary of the previous revaluation (or, if earlier, on a date specified by order by the Secretary of State). Section 22B also requires a draft list to be published on (or before) the 1 September before the date on which the list is to be compiled.
6. In July 2004 the Government invited Sir Michael Lyons to consider options for reform of the council tax as part of his independent inquiry into local government funding, and to report and make recommendations by the end of 2005. In September 2005, the Government then extended the scope and length of the Lyons Inquiry so that it could consider issues relating to the wider functions of local government and its future role as well as, and prior to, making recommendations on local government funding. The Lyons Inquiry is now expected to produce its final report at the end of 2006. In the light of this, the Government decided to postpone council tax revaluation in England 2, and to legislate to provide a power for the Secretary of State to make orders setting a new date for revaluation, and dates for any subsequent revaluations, so that the first revaluation in England can take full account of the further work of the Lyons Inquiry and be integrated with any other possible funding reforms, and account can be taken of relevant circumstances in determining appropriate dates for subsequent revaluations.
2 The announcement to postpone revaluation was made on 20 September 2005
TERRITORIAL APPLICATION: WALES
7. The Bill does not affect the provisions for the revaluation of domestic properties in Wales for council tax purposes. In Wales, council tax revaluation took place on 1 April 2005. The requirement to revalue on the 10th anniversary of the previous revaluation (or, if earlier, on a date specified by order by the National Assembly for Wales) is not affected by the present proposals.
COMMENTARY ON CLAUSES
8. This Bill has two clauses.
FINANCIAL AND PUBLIC SERVICE MANPOWER EFFECTS OF THE BILL
9. The postponement of the revaluation means a suspension of the existing programme of preparatory work for the 2007 revaluation by the Valuation Office Agency. It is not possible at this stage to estimate exactly what the costs of revaluation will be at that future date. This will need to be reviewed in the light of the Government's decisions, following the report of the extended Lyons Inquiry.
10. The Regulatory Impact Unit has confirmed that no Regulatory Impact Assessment is required.
EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
11. The Council Tax (New Valuation Lists for England) Bill 2005 is considered to be compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The proposals in the Bill do not raise convention issues.
12. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement, before second reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State has made the following statement:
13. The Bill will come into force on Royal Assent.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2005||Prepared: 14 October 2005|