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Rates Soar in the North

8 October, 2003


Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel Mc Laughlin responding to the announcement by Direct Rule Minister, Ian Pearson that the North's rates will increase by almost 30% in the next three years said:

"Sinn Fein's forecast that despite the higher cost of energy and other utilities here that the British Exchequer would seek to raise indirect tax levels to those of England and Wales were dismissed out of hand as scare-mongering by British ministers and other political parties. Ian Pearson, Direct Rule Minister with responsibility for Finance statement that domestic rates are to rise almost 30% in the next three years has shown Sinn Fein‚s prediction to be once again accurate.

"This rise, which is almost three times the rate of inflation, is soon to be accompanied by a new water charge, which will see rates and tax bills in some instances rise towards the £2,000 per year mark within a few short years.

"Within the NorthWest people will to forced to pay for the historic lack of investment in infrastructure in the Region. This neglect has resulted in the deterioration of our sewage treatment system to third world standards, a second class rail link to Belfast, no motorway within 30 miles and no sign of significant change in departmental attitude towards our needs. Recent pronouncements by civil service mandarins on proposed spending on roads and other infrastructure show that once again the North West will not benefit from this investment. The major share of this investment will be directed to the Greater Belfast Region, which has already benefited disproportionately through the efforts of the Belfast centred Civil Service bureaucrats." ENDS

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