Northern Ireland Fair Rates Campaign

Press Release | 6th November 2006

Northern Ireland Political Parties and Rates Campaigners Urge Lords to ‘Kill the Bill’

Northern Ireland five main political parties and the Fair Rates Campaign have called on members of the House of Lords to prevent the introduction of the new rates system by backing a fatal motion on the floor of the House.

The Rates (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 will be debated in the Upper House on Tuesday 7th November and Lord Smith of Clifton (formerly Vice Chancellor of the University of Ulster and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Northern Ireland) has laid a motion, which if passed, will prevent the Order from passing into law.

All of the local Northern Ireland parties have sent letters to the Conservative and Cross-Bench leaders in the Lords asking them to vote for this fatal motion, so that this crucial decision can be taken by a future Northern Ireland Assembly.

These letters have also been forwarded to Lord Rooker so the government is left in no doubt that there is cross-party support in opposition to this legislation. The Order is a statutory instrument and therefore the Parliament Act cannot be used.

The Fair Rates Campaign has been lobbying members of the Lords over the last seven days and the Conservative Party has also laid a motion asking that the Order be remitted to a future Assembly.

Anne Monaghan, Chairperson of the Fair Rates Campaign, said ‘From across Northern Ireland to across the political spectrum there is opposition to this legislation. Our local politicians and the Fair Rates Campaign oppose this law which disadvantages pensioners, the asset rich but cash poor, single person households and those just outside the benefit system.

‘The parties in Northern Ireland have now in writing asked for a delay in introducing the system and they have asked the Lords to support this fatal motion. If it is really revenue neutral then neither we nor our local politicians can understand David Hanson’s refusal to allow Northern Ireland people and parties to determine this system for themselves’.

‘The most important political statement which has been made in relation to this issue is the cross-party support that this decision is made by the Northern Ireland Assembly. David Hanson has said that local politicians must get into government and take these crucial decisions. The parties are now saying they wish to take these vital decisions and Hanson carried on regardless’

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