Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Rates Crisis demands return of Executive

31 August, 2006

Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has said that the rates crisis facing people in the north will not be dealt with by British direct rule Ministers and laid the blame for the failure to get the power-sharing Executive back in place squarely at the door of the DUP.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Huge numbers of people will not be able to cope with their rates bills under the new rating system. This will be compounded when the British government force through their water charges next year. And this is only the start of it.

"The British treasury wants to increase the revenue generated in the six counties through whatever means possible. The British government does not care that people here cannot carry this increasing rates and tax burden. It does not care that levels of poverty, particularly among children and older people are on the increase.

"Direct rule is just not listening to the people who live in the north. The reality is that only a power-sharing Executive will make a difference to people's lives. Only an Executive with democratically mandated local politicians will listen and respond to local people and local concerns.

"Take, for example, the fact that the last power-sharing Executive agreed to cap rates increases (at 3.3% for non-domestic and 8% for domestic rates) and compare it with the inflation busting 19% increase imposed on councils this year.

"No one should be fooled into thinking that the DUP's refusal to go into a power-sharing Executive is without consequences. Perhaps the DUP should listen to their own constituents complaining about British direct rule about this and a great many other pressing issues." ENDS

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