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Sinn Féin lead cross party delegation in Hanson meeting over Rates Issue

28 November, 2006

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson, Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy has led a cross party delegation to meet with British direct rule minister David Hanson today to discuss the issue of rates.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Molloy said:

"The Programme for Government committee, that is in effect an Executive in waiting, has now agreed to set a working group to look at not just the rates issues but also water charges and the Comprehensive Spending Review.

"Our view is that local politicians need to be allowed the take the decisions on these key issues, indeed the PfG committee yesterday again called for the deferment of legislation on water charges.

"Sinn Féin have a number of deep concerns about the approach of British direct rule ministers to the rates issue. Our bottom line is that people must be taxed on their ability to pay and our preferred option would be for the introduction of a local income tax.

"We also believe that the issue of rates and local taxation should follow on from the reorganisation of local government and the Review of Public Administration process because the re-financing of local government is a fundamental part of this process.

"Our focus is on the restoration of the institutions and on maximising the financial package available to an incoming Executive. Our approach to rates is governed by a determination to achieve a fair rates burden for all." ENDS

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