Anneliese Dodds MP will be writing to Treasury Ministers next week to clarify the future of the Oxford VAO office.
Anneliese said: "It is really worrying to hear that there will be major cuts to the Valuation Office, at the very time when there are already 1,600 unresolved appeals of valuations in Oxford. The Government is also moving to more frequent valuations, meaning potentially much more work for the Valuation Office.
"It is so important that businesses are valued accurately. I know from speaking to many local firms that they are already concerned about the impact of business rates and an inaccurately high valuation could worsen this problem. It is disturbing to hear that Valuation Office staff are now having to rely on Google Earth to try and assess the value of business premises, rather than using the kind of local knowledge and expertise that they were previously able to draw on.
The government should rethink this change which could cost many local businesses in the long run, especially in an area like Oxford where there has been so much change in property values over recent years. The Oxford VOA office must remain open, especially as we have the highest number of unresolved appeals in the South East."
John Webber, head of business rating at Colliers International, the property adviser, said the plans to close 26 VOA offices would be a “nightmare” for 200,000 businesses that are appealing against revaluations by the agency.
“This is a shambles,” he added. “It’s inconceivable that a time when the VOA has over 200,000 outstanding appeals still in the system . . . that the government has decided to reduce, rather than boost the number of offices and professionals that can sort out the issues.”