Sinn Féin - On Your Side

New Rates System may help some but it will help the British Treasury most

27 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has said while that the latest part of legislation dealing with the new rates system may well benefit farmers in pushing ahead with on-farm diversification and welcomed particularly the move to remove rural cash machines from the rating system, that the bottom line is that the system is all about delivering more money to the British Treasury.

Ms Gildernew said:

"While a number of specific measures recognise the difficult situation with farmers and the fact that there are not enough bank machines in rural areas the general thrust of the new rates system, as with water charges, is that it will put more money into the British Treasury.

"What is also not acceptable is the 25% rebate on offer for people living in disability adapted homes. This level is far to low, particularly as the governments' own figures show that people living with disability are almost twice as likely to be living in poverty.

"Yes it is positive that farmers wanting to push ahead with on-farm diversification will be given a helping hand but yet at the same time there are also restrictive elements in the draft planning laws.

"Yes potentially the moves around people in full time education may be beneficial but I am unconvinced that this will by of any great benefit to anyone except unscrupulous private landlords.

"However, the bottom line is that while the new rates system may help some people that the real winners here are the British Treasury who have been looking at ways to take more money out of the pockets of people living in this part of Ireland. I think whether it is water charges or the new system of rates that more and more people are realising that it is time to get rid of direct rule ministers and their obsession with new Labour spin and cutting public services while increasing the tax burden to levels that are unsustainable." ENDS

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