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Government postpones council tax revaluation

Plans for a revaluation of council tax in England have been postponed, the government announced today.

The government has instead extended Sir Michael Lyons’ inquiry into local government funding, so that he can consider issues relating to the wider functions of local government and its future role.

The extension of Sir Michael’s is intended to ensure that any proposals for reform of the funding system can be set firmly within the wider context of a clear, shared understanding of the role of local government, and of councils’ accountability to service users, residents and taxpayers.

The government says it has postponed the revaluation until 2007 so that it can take Sir Michael’s further work into account.

David Miliband, minister of communities and local government, says: “The future of local government is critical to the future of the country. The Government is determined to create a strong and sustainable role for it.

“But we need a clear and complete picture of what we want local government to do before we tackle how it will be funded.

“Sir Michael Lyons agrees with this principle. That’s why we are extending his remit to look at this wider picture. In addition to his existing remit, he will now review the current and emerging role of local government and produce a series of documents ending with his final report at the end of 2006.

“We have decided to postpone revaluation from 2007 so that revaluation can take full account of Sir Michael Lyons’ further work. We do not believe that revaluation will take place in this Parliament. Preparatory work for a revaluation in 2007 is being stood down, but the Valuation Office Agency’s good work will provide a firm foundation on which to build in future.

“We are confident that Sir Michael Lyons’ extended work will provide a real opportunity for fundamental and lasting reform.”

Sir Michael says: “I welcome this extension to my remit, which has the potential to establish a new direction for how local government delivers and funds key public services.”

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