§ Mr. Barry Jones
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is his estimate of the number of (i) private surveyors and (ii) valuers required to work on the new council tax; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what is his estimate of the cost of employing private valuers for the new council tax in Wales;
(3) what is his estimate of the cost of employing private surveyors to work on the new council tax in Wales; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Maples
By arrangement with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, the Inland Revenue's Valuation Office Agency has invited private sector valuers to register an interest in tendering for council tax valuation work for 50 per cent. of domestic properties in Wales. Over 220 firms in Wales have applied. The remaining 50 per cent. of council tax valuations in Wales will be undertaken by the Valuation Office Agency, which will deploy some 10 staff years of valuers on the work, supported by experienced technical and clerical staff.
Competitive tenders for work allocated to the private sector will be invited from suitable applicants on 25 October. The arrangements are designed to ensure good quality valuations and best value for money. Until tenders have been considered it is not possible to give a reliable estimate of the cost of private sector assistance.