A brief history of Land and Property valuation in England. Recommendation to establish an independent Valuation Office.

In 1910 the government passed the Finance (Land Value Taxation) Act and formed a Valuation Office for the land valuation.

This valuation process was nearly complete ten years later, but with many outstanding appeals and objections. The coalition government, which came into power in December 1918, repealed the LVT part of the 1910 Finance Act was unnecessarily complicated. Also rejected were the professional valuers who proposed a valuation experiment in a  circumscribed area.

In 1931 a new LVT Bill was passed and immediately cancelled due to the grave financial crisis. The VO land valuation project remained in limbo for two years and then was repealed.

After the Second World War, Britain went into a sharp economic decline with much social change; there was little consideration for implementing LVT. A rating system revaluation due in 1952 was postponed until 1956 with the assessment base on 1939 values. The rating process expected in 1961 was delayed until 1963. The 1973 revaluation was again postponed and took place in 1978.

In the early 1990s, social unrest and riots against the unpopular Poll Tax prompted the government to replace it with a Council Tax, introduced in 1993. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) quickly put together a value/tax band system A to H for residential properties with Business Tax for commercial property, based on the property sale prices, rather than the letting value.

In 2003, the VOA contracted with a Tyler Technology company (Cole Layer Trumble) to develop a CAMA/AVM system for a council tax revaluation planned for 2007. The VOA  discontinued the contract in 2005, millions of Pounds were wasted. Labour announced in 2005 that it would postpone the decision until after the next general election, which it lost in 2010.

In the last few years, there has been much interest in Land Value Capture, requiring new technology and valuation experience that the VOA currently does not have.

Regardless of future tax policy changes, valuations must be conducted professionally without outside pressures, using the best technology available and with the flexibility to adapt to fast-changing social and economic conditions.

The Valuation Office should be independent of political and commercial pressures. The Valuation Office should set valuation policy & standards, certify and contract independent professional revaluation companies to perform valuations. The data and statistics are then delivered to the government for decision-making. Such an arrangement would be cost-effective for the government. The revaluation companies will always employ the best technology and methods to be awarded contracts.

Author: Henry Abbott

February 2021

By Javed

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