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Molloy - Rates increases drive up cost of living

12 April, 2006

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy has said that the 19 % increase in domestic rates will further drive up the cost of living and push greater numbers of people into poverty. He also warned that along with a number of other measures including water charges and electricity and heating cost increases that there will be long-term consequences for the local economy.

Mr Molloy said:

"Stealth taxes are the hallmark of the British Labour Party government. It is an approach which hurts people on low and fixed incomes and is bad for the small and medium businesses that are so crucial to our economy.

"The 19% increase in the domestic rate will drive up the cost of living and push even greater numbers of people into poverty.

"Across a whole range of areas British direct rule ministers are putting in place measures, including water charges, that will compound the problems created by high energy costs and high insurance costs that will have a long-term detrimental impact on the economy.

"When we had a functioning Executive we were able to successfully cap both business and household rates increases because we could see what the impact of such super inflation busting increases would be. British direct rule clearly has a very different agenda driven by Whitehall.

"While British direct rule is driving up rates it is also cutting the money available to local councils in crucial areas such as waste management. This approach is very worrying when it is proposed that a number of functions will be moved to local government." ENDS

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