Ford will meet Empey to discuss “fundamental change to make rates system fairer”

Alliance Party Leader David Ford has written to Sir Reg Empey saying he will meet him and other party representatives to challenge the Government’s new rates system – but only if they are prepared to reverse the decision they made in the Assembly and instead back fundamental change towards a fairer system.

David Ford stated: “It has always been the position of the Alliance Party that we will meet anyone, anywhere to resolve problems – provided they are prepared to be constructive in coming up with an alternative.

“The rates system as currently introduced is clearly a priority issue for many people, and political leaders from all parties must address it urgently. Joint initiatives have worked in the past to overturn direct-rule ministers’ policies, and we must do all we can to achieve this again.

“However, that will only work if the four parties responsible for the initiation of the current, now totally discredited rates reform are prepared to recognise the need for a much more fundamental change. We need a fairer system of local and regional taxation, based on ability to pay.

“It is important we address this as part of the financial package being negotiated to run Northern Ireland effectively, and a if a united front on the rates issue brings positive results, it will be worth the time invested in it.”


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