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Deputy Mayor calls for Rates exemptions for Queens and UU

30 November, 2004

Deputy Mayor of Belfast Cllr Joe O'Donnell today called for the Deputy Mayor of Belfast Sinn Féin Cllr. Joe O'Donnell has called for the exemption of Queens University Belfast and the University of Ulster from the payment of rates. This followed the recent claim from the Vice Chancellor of QUB George Bain that universities in the North of Ireland are significantly under funded compared to those in Britain.

Cllr O'Donnell said:

"Having met with the Vice Chancellor of QUB I feel that both Queens and UU should be exempt from the payment of rates. This would be in line with the British Govt's. policy towards other universities

" QUB alone loses £3 million per annum in rates which currently go to Belfast City Council. However, as part of the exemption process the British Govt. should reimburse the council to that amount to ensure that one resource does not suffer at the expense of another.

"QUB currently require funding for a number of projects including the redevelopment of their PE centre and a scholarship programme for economically disadvantaged students - they would obviously be greatly aided if the had an extra injection of £3 million.

" It has also come to my attention that Campbell College in East Belfast has gained an exemption from the payment of rates on the grounds of being an educational establishment. This is a good thing. I can think of no more worthy educational establishments than the universities which service the six counties." ENDS

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