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Rates: Monthly Updates

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance and Personnel – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:00 pm on 13th October 2015.

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Photo of Phil Flanagan Phil Flanagan Sinn Féin 3:00 pm, 13th October 2015

10. Mr Flanagan asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel whether she plans to publish monthly details of rates collected from both domestic and non-domestic customers, against targets. (AQO 8876/11-16)

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

There are no plans to publish monthly details of rate collection for domestic and non-domestic customers.

Photo of Phil Flanagan Phil Flanagan Sinn Féin

I thank the Minister for her answer. She is really on form today in providing informative and concise answers, which is good to see, even though we do not always agree with the content of them. Does the Minister agree that the release of timely and accurate information would give the public a greater insight into the workings of government and increase the confidence of businesses in Land and Property Services (LPS) and how it works?

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

I do, absolutely. As he will know, LPS provides unaudited information to the Finance and Personnel Committee at regular intervals throughout the year. It makes every effort to support those who are struggling to pay, and we do recognise that there are a number of people who struggle to pay their rates bills, but it must also rigorously pursue those who do not pay, and that has to be taken into account. In the collection of rates against the target for 2014-15, a total of £1·175 billion was transferred to the Paymaster General against the target of £1·165 billion for 2014-15, which was £37 million more than 2013-14. So, last year was a good year for rates collection for Northern Ireland.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

The Member will be aware that I have been encouraging concise questions, as well as answers, for years.