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Robinson told to ensure better take up of rates reliefs

22 April, 2008

West Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann has appealed to the Minister of Finance and Personnel to ensure that promises made to encourage the take up of Rate Relief to people will be kept.

Ms McCann said:

"Recent reports that those entitled to rates relief are still finding it difficult to access that relief is an unacceptable situation.

"Previous experience shows us that up to 50% of those people who are entitled to apply for rates relief don't do so because of bureaucracy and red tape in the application process.

"In a number of written and oral replies to questions on the issue of rate relief the Minister for Finance and Personnel had agreed that he would be encouraging his Department and the Executive to ensure that a targeted and proactive campaign was launched to ensure that those people who are eligible for rates relief are given every opportunity to avail of that relief.

"This year has seen another hike in Domestic Rates and once again we're seeing those most disadvantaged in society bearing the brunt of those increases. As a result of not opting for a system whose central focus would be on a person's ability to pay those who are most disadvantaged in society are once again penalised.

"Their situation is compounded by a bureaucratic and complicated system of accessing rates relief.

"This is a totally unacceptable situation and I am asking the Minister to ensure that pensioners and all those other people who are entitled to rates relief are given it." ENDS

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