HC Deb 21 December 1973 vol 866 cc457-8W
Mr. Jeffrey Archer

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when the report of the Borner Committee is to be published; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Graham Page

The report is published today of the committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. R. S. Borner, which was appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment to examine and advise on the functions of valuers in local government and in the Valuation Office of the Board of Inland Revenue in relation to the land transactions of local authorities in England and Wales.

Most of the work concerned relates to the assessment of statutory compensation due when land and buildings are acquired for public purposes.

The Government accept the majority recommendation that, when a local authority's own qualified valuer assesses compensation, the district valuer should carry out only a selective check on those valuations.

The Government accept the recommendation that there should be a simple procedure for dealing speedily and easily with disputes on value where the amounts involved are small, but they consider that the procedure of the Lands Tribunal can be suitably adapted for this purpose.

When the simplified procedure is operating cases assessed by the local authority's own qualified valuer which are subject to that procedure and in which the amount involved is less than £500 will not be checked by the district valuer. The £500 limit will be reviewed for the purpose of considering the practicability of increasing it after one year of the working of the new procedure has given a reasonable opportunity for assessing its operation. Of the cases still subject to checking, the objective will be to reduce the proportion so checked to 20 per cent. by two years after the establishment of the new procedure.

The Government accept the minority recommendation that local authorities should not be charged for the use of the district valuer's services. These will, therefore, continue to be freely available to local authorities as at present.

Discussions will be started forthwith with the local authority associations and others concerned with the implementation of these decisions.