On Monday 16 January 2017, Dr. Alasdair McDonnell MP held a Public Meeting in the Wellington Park Hotel to hear the views of constituents on the proposed removal of the rates cap announced by Finance Minister, Máirtín O’Muilleoir MLA.
On the panel was Dr. Alasdair McDonnell MP, Cllr Declan Boyle (Botanic) and Ray Farley from the Fair Rates Campaign.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell MP explained that he organised the meeting because Cllr Declan Boyle and himself had been inundated with calls, emails and text messages from constituents concerned about the impact of removing the rates cap.
After a brief introduction from all the panellists, Alasdair opened the meeting to the floor as the main focus was to hear the views/concerns of local constituents.
A wide range of concerns were raised from the floor as we heard from single persons, pensioners and parents with young families.
There was a consensus that a more equitable approach should be taken by Finance Minister, Máirtín O’Muilleoir MLA.
It was also stressed that the Rating System needs to be properly updated but should reflect best practices in other jurisdictions.
With the uncertainty at Stormont and the forthcoming Assembly Election this proposal may be shelved but we cannot be sure it won’t come back in 6 months time.
This is why I am urging you to respond to the Consultation Paper of the Rates Rethink.
You can print/download the consultation paper by clicking on the link https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/consultations/rates-rethink
Queries and consultation responses should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written responses to: Rating Policy Division, FinTru House, 1 Cromac Avenue, Gasworks Business Park, Belfast, BT7 2JA.
The deadline for submission of consultation responses is 16 February 2017 at 17:00.