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Well - it is almost here, at last! After a two-year postponement, the draft lists are due to be published at the end of September; and I believe that the first conference to consider these and the pending reforms to the system will be that of IRRV, to be held in Telford, next month.

Significant changes have taken place, with the twin aims of protecting revenue and of reducing the work load of the Valuation Office Agency, which is still subject to the regime of funding cuts which has subsisted since the Agency was created, in 1990, and which (in my view, at least), has brought its fitness for its purpose even further into question. We have still to see how (if at all) the "Check, Challenge, Appeal” regime, if introduced in its present form, is going to work. The draft regulations have been published for consultation; and I am participating in the preparation of IRRV’s response, which is being considered by both the valuers and the revenues memberships (though (for obvious reasons) not members who are employed by VOA or VTS. The Institute is strictly neutral, politically, and sees to work entirely in the public interest; and it is very much with that in mind that the Institute is preparing its response. No criticism of members of VOA or of VTS is intended.

Government policy of reducing civil service costs and protecting and increasing revenue has to be considered and balanced against the legitimate expectations of the public to have an equitable and transparent tax system; and that is what the Institute (and I, among others) will be doing our best to bring about.

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Peter Scrafton IRRV (Hons) FCIArb MRSA (Hon) Solicitor (Non-Practising) and Accredited Mediator is a legal and valuation consultant and member of the IRRV Council.

©J.P. Scrafton, September 2016

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