Rating Policy

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:15 pm on 22nd November 2016.

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Photo of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Sinn Féin 12:15 pm, 22nd November 2016

Lord Morrow, you have to read past the first few pages. Much of the statement is about people who do not pay their rates, including landlords who pay 50% empty property rates, which will go up to 75% — still way off where Scotland is. That will make a difference. It involves those who do not pay rates on empty factories; we are trying to get that right as well. They will add to the tax base. Through many of the things that we are doing we are trying to bring in more money, not just for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council but for all councils and for government coffers. Of course, we have just spent the best part of 30 minutes discussing the big one: the people who are not paying at the minute are those who enjoy the domestic property cap, and that is going as well. There is no doubt that some people who heretofore did not make as much of a contribution as they should will have to shoulder more of the burden, because we are making the system fairer in the time ahead.

I am always up for listening to other proposals on how to raise more rates. As you know, there was a bit of a love-in when we removed rates entirely from community amateur sports clubs and extended that to pigeon clubs. Everybody is in favour of removing rates, but, if Lord Morrow has other proposals around how we might bring forward other measures to raise rates, I am certainly all ears. Make no mistake: when we finish the exercise, with the support of the House, there will be £16 million recurring each year more in government coffers and £10 million more in council coffers.