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Rating System

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the pilot arrangement announced on 22 July 2005 between the Valuation and Lands Agency and Belfast City Council to improve rating service and cut out unnecessary administration and inspections by officials of new and altered properties; and if he will make a statement. (96793)

The pilot announced in July 2005 started in April 2005 when the Valuation and Lands Agency (VLA) entered into a joint project with Belfast city council (Building Control) for the timely provision by the council of full survey details on all changes to properties (including new builds). In Belfast this project has significantly reduced the average time involvement by VLA and increased productivity almost threefold. Although, no precise figures are yet available, valuations are also being completed in a timelier manner.

VLA are seeking to extend the project to include Derry and Lisburn city councils in 2006 and eventually, by agreement, to all councils.

To that end, VLA is in the process of securing the temporary secondment of the Belfast city council manager to lead the project and assist in implementing the process throughout Northern Ireland.