Review of Rating Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance and Personnel – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:45 pm on 14th October 2002.

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Photo of Mrs Annie Courtney Mrs Annie Courtney Social Democratic and Labour Party 3:45 pm, 14th October 2002

7. asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel how many responses were received to the review of rating policy.

(AQO 300/02)

Photo of Sean Farren Sean Farren Social Democratic and Labour Party

At the close of the consultation phase of the review of rating policy, 95 responses had been received. The respondees include political parties, Assembly Committees, district councils, numerous interested organisations and groups and many individual ratepayers.

Photo of Mrs Annie Courtney Mrs Annie Courtney Social Democratic and Labour Party

Now that the Assembly is being suspended, does the Minister believe that the review of rating policy will suffer the same fate?

Photo of Sean Farren Sean Farren Social Democratic and Labour Party

As I have said, I cannot say with any certainty what will happen to that or any other policies of the Executive, the Assembly or its Committees.

It was widely acknowledged and accepted around the House that the current rating system contains not only many anomalies but many inequities. The incoming Ministers will be mindful of the urgency with which the issue must be addressed so that we can have a fair and equitable system for all.

Photo of Mrs Joan Carson Mrs Joan Carson UUP 4:00 pm, 14th October 2002

What response did the Minister receive from domestic ratepayers and the small-business sector?

Photo of Sean Farren Sean Farren Social Democratic and Labour Party

The Member asks me to detail what two interest groups have said. Responses have been received from many people in the small-business sector and from individual ratepayers. The one plea that tends to come out in all the submissions is that every group wishes to be exempt from rates. We should be in some difficulty if we heeded that plea for no one to have rates levied on him or her.

Motion made:

That the Assembly do now adjourn. — [Mr Deputy Speaker.]