Date: 23 May 2007
ASSEMBLY FINANCE COMMITTEE CONSIDERS RATING DIFFICULTIES
The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Statutory Committee for Finance and Personnel met today in Parliament Buildings. Senior management in the newly-formed Land and Property Services Agency were called to discuss the operational implications of the new rating system. The Committee also received further briefing from the Department of Finance and Personnel on the Budget Bill for 2007/08, focussing on the consultation process in relation to the legislation.
Speaking after the meeting Committee Chairperson, Mitchel McLaughlin, MLA, said:
“Members agreed that, pending the outcome of the recently announced review of rating, urgent priority should be given to addressing the difficulties being experienced in implementing the new rating system based on capital values. The difficulties include the disputes regarding the accuracy of bills and criticism of both the extent and take up of available reliefs. The issues are having a direct and immediate affect on ratepayers and the Committee is especially concerned as to impact on vulnerable groups.”
The Chairperson also said:
“The Committee emphasised to officials the importance of setting early targets to complete the 16,500 outstanding reviews of rate bills based on the new system”.
The Committee also agreed an initial submission to the Review of Taxation Policy and Economic Growth, being undertaken by Sir David Varney.
The Committee for Finance and Personnel is one of 11 Statutory Committees of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which are set up to advise and assist each Northern Ireland Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his/her responsibilities as a Minister.
Statutory Committees have powers as described in Strand One of the Belfast Agreement i.e. a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the department with which each is associated, together with a role in the initiation of legislation.
As per paragraph 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement, Statutory Committees have the power to:
- Consider and advise on departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
- Approve relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee stage of relevant primary legislation;
- Call for persons and papers;
- Initiate inquiries and make reports; and
- Consider and advise on matters brought to the Committee by its minister.
The Committee for Finance and Personnel has eleven Members:
Mitchel McLaughlin (Chairperson) (Sinn Fein)
Mervyn Storey (Deputy Chairperson) (DUP)
Roy Beggs (UUP)
Dr Stephen Farry ( Alliance)
Simon Hamilton (DUP)
Fra McCann (Sinn Fein)
Jennifer McCann (Sinn Fein)
Adrian McQuillan (DUP)
Declan O’Loan (SDLP)
Dawn Purvis (PUP)
Peter Weir (DUP)
Media enquiries should be addressed to:
Northern Ireland Assembly Information Office, Room B2, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Telephone 028 9052 1137.
e-mail: email@example.comFurther information on the work of the Committee is available on the Committee pages of the Northern Ireland Assembly website: archive.niassembly.gov.uk