It has always been a feature of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), under which Councils collect from developers financial contributions to local infrastructure, that the charges set by each Council will be increased annually in line with an inflation-related index. One of the recent series of reforms of CIL which took effect in September 2019 was a decision to make this index public.
Most people would assume this would have been an obvious element of the system from the outset as we are, after all, dealing with a form of taxation, but the index figure has been based on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors controlled B.C.I.S All-in Tender Index, something which the RICS treat as valuable data and which is only accessible to their subscribers. Putting aside the questions over whether the BCIS index is best suited for this sort of taxation, the lack of transparency over the indexation has caused inconvenience and difficulties for developers and practitioners alike.
The Government has agreed with the RICS to allow access to sufficient data to allow for an annual figure to be published to operate with effect from 2020. The figure is published at the end of October each year and the first base figure has just come out – see link below to the initial base figure. This will allow us the ability more easily to verify the current amount of CIL per sq metre in any council area. The data is only published once a year, so it means that all council CIL indexations will be based on the same data and in the future reviewed on the same date.
Helpfully, a new Regulation 121C of the CIL Regulations 2010 also requires Councils which have adopted a charging schedule to publish on their websites, each December, an annual CIL rate summary setting out the revised CIL rates once the indexation has been applied. This commitment to openness can only be applauded, however late its arrival.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.