Allan Leonard said: “I strongly support the Fair Rates Campaign’s five point plan. A cap on rates is totally unacceptable as it will mean that those in cheaper houses will have to foot the bill for those getting their rates capped. Northern Ireland will still have to contribute the same total amount of money through rates even if the cap is introduced.
“The cap is a blunt instrument and it would only benefit those in extremely expensive houses and would do nothing for older people or those on low incomes.
“We also back the Fair Rates Campaign’s call for students to benefit, not landlords. We want to end to landlords’ exemption to rates, which they have because students pass on their exemption to them.
“Landlords’ exemptions must be stopped as they encourage landlords to buy more properties. This pushes house prices out of the range of first-time buyers and creates more HMOs which have ruined some areas of Belfast.
“The only fair solution is to scrap rates and replace them with a local income tax. People would be billed based on their ability to pay and this would help older people and those on low incomes.”
With regard to Tuesday’s House of Lords vote on rates Allan Leonard said: “We are all annoyed that the Conservative Peers have let Northern Ireland down. Their actions punish every household here.
“It is abundantly clear that Conservative Peers achieved absolutely nothing in the House of Lords, because David Hanson reneged on the deal made by Lord Rooker within 12 hour of it being made.”