DRAFT PRESS RELEASE
Date: 14 November 2007
FINANCE COMMITTEE RESPONDS ON RATING REFORMS
The Assembly Committee for Finance and Personnel has agreed its response to the Executive Review of the Domestic Rating System and will shortly publish a report of this response, which recommends a number of reforms whilst ruling out others ( an advanced copy of the key conclusions and recommendations from the Committee Report is attached as an annex ).
Following today’s meeting of the Committee, the Chairperson, Mitchel McLaughlin, MLA, said:
“Domestic rates are a key element of local funding and the regional rate, in particular, has increased significantly in recent years. The reforms introduced by the Direct Rule administration in April 2007, particularly the impact on pensioners, have attracted mounting criticism. The Committee’s response to the Review of the Domestic Rating System addresses each of the reform options and includes recommendations on related issues, including measures to increase the uptake of reliefs and to improve communication and transparency in relation to rates bills.”
The Committee’s response on domestic rating has been made in the context of the Committee’s wider consideration of the Executive’s Draft Budget. In this regard, the Committee today took evidence from the Minister of Finance and Personnel, Rt. Hon. Peter Robinson, on the Draft Budget and from officials from his department on the Review of Industrial Derating Policy and on the Future Policy for Managing Absenteeism.
Notes for editors :
- 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.
- Committee 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:
Belfast BT4 3XX
Telephone 028 9052 1642
Further information on the work of the Committee is available on the Committee pages of the Northern Ireland Assembly website: archive.niassembly.gov.uk