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Water Shortages

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made by the (a) Valuation Office Agency and (b) Valuation Tribunal Service of whether a water shortage or drought may represent a physical change in infrastructure to a business that is dependent on water for its business and thereby affects its valuation and liability for business rates; and what guidance has been published. (85716)

The information is as follows:

(a) the Valuation Office Agency provided written guidance in June to its valuation officers on whether the present water shortage and measures that have or may be introduced can affect rateable values. The Valuation Office Agency’s advice is that the imposition of drought orders is a legal change that may restrict the ability to use a property and this should be regarded as a matter affecting the physical enjoyment of the property. Whether this will affect the valuation will depend on the individual circumstances of any particular property. It is unlikely that the drought itself constitutes a physical change to a property's locality or infrastructure.

(b) the Valuation Tribunal Service has made no assessment on the impact of water restrictions on liability or valuations. Valuation tribunals are charged with determining rateable values on appeal when ratepayers and valuation officers disagree. Whether water restrictions impact on valuations is a matter for individual valuation tribunals to consider on the evidence presented in any particular case.