Executive parties responsible for new rating system

Alliance Party Leader David Ford has described as “nonsense” the idea that the rates issue would be sorted by any new local Northern Ireland Executive, saying that the four parties seeking to form that Executive had set in train the current changes.

Speaking on the BBC’s Nolan programme, David Ford stated: “The changes to the rating system that have caused so much controversy were not started by the direct-rule ministers, but by the four parties which formed the last Executive. Although direct-rule ministers are not applying the same system as in Great Britain, it was other local parties that set the process in train, they have to explain it to the people.

“Those four parties set the trend for reform of the rating system. It is because of this that we are now facing water taxes, the end of industrial derating, and a hike in domestic rates. Businesspeople, single pensioners and others who are facing such difficulties as a result of these increases must bear in mind who started the process.

“I welcome the reversal of other parties’ policy on issues such as industrial rating, but they must admit their judgement was wrong in the first place, and people have every right to query their judgement in government in future.


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