Former Belfast Lord Mayor to table council motion to scrap rates hikes

Former Belfast Lord Mayor, Tom Ekin is tabling a motion in Belfast City Council calling for rates hikes to be scrapped and replaced with a fair regional income tax. The Alliance Party Councillor has stated that Alliance have called for such measures since 1972.

The Belfast Councillor said: “The scrapping of this unfair system is long overdue. As long ago as 1972, Alliance identified problems within the rates system and we proposed that it be scrapped and replaced by local tax varying powers. I am tabling a motion at Belfast City Council to demand that such measures are put in place immediately.

“Our idea of a local income tax is a fair and transparent system, and will

be based on people’s ability to pay.

“The rates crisis has illustrated the problems which are endemic in Northern Ireland politics and local society – The squandering of £1billion spend every year on keeping our society divided.

“Another major problem is the squandering of 10 years of peace progress, due to lack of local leadership from the tribal parties, and also the imposition of other unfair legislation here like water charges.

“The four parties which made up the Stormont Executive set the ball rolling for these unfair rates hikes. Alliance opposed this move, and we are focused on providing a viable and affordable solution to the problem created by the four Executive parties.

“If this ludicrous system is not scrapped and replaced with an income tax immediately, areas like East Belfast , which area becoming more popular with buyers, will see massive rates hikes in the next few years. Large rates increases in West and North Belfast are also likely to follow.

“Which government would dare increase taxes by 30% in one year, let alone by over 100%. Any party doing so is effectively pressing a self-destruct button. Why were rates increased without anyone ever checking whether people could afford to pay in the first place?

“How can anyone say that it is ok for older people to use up two months of their gross pension to pay for rates from which they derive no significant benefit.

“Houses of multiple occupancy (HMO) have destroyed some areas of South Belfast. It is disgraceful that landlords are effectively being encouraged to create more HMOs due to their exemption from paying rates.”


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