Alliance Party Vice Chair Michael Long has said people paying increased rates will be reminded of the costs of segregating public services and bureaucratic inefficiency – and re-stated the Alliance Party’s determination to drive rates down.
The Castlereagh Councillor stated: “Right now, people are being hit with rates bills that are, in many cases, outrageously high. Elderly people are being forced to wonder if they can stay in their current homes, young people are being forced to give up on getting on to the housing ladder, and many working people feel punished by the Government for politicians’ inability to just get on with it.
“Only the Alliance Party offers an alternative vision – which does not involve such appalling rates hikes. For we are wasting an estimated £1 billion a year – enough for four world-class hospitals, double the education budget or 20 new stadiums – on segregation alone. This leaves aside the millions thrown away on resultant violence and disputes, and further millions wasted through bureaucratic inefficiency.
“All of this comes back to one thing: the fact we live in a segregated society is a luxury we cannot and should not afford. There is a financial and moral imperative for our politicians to come together and deliver leadership on behalf of the whole community, not just selected portions of it.
“This is why it is not just essential that the Assembly gets back up and running, but that the Assembly and the institutions are reformed so that they are seen to deliver on the things people want – free personal care, free third-level education, no water charges, better schools and improved infrastructure. All this can – and with Alliance influence would – be delivered for lower taxes and, more importantly, for the overall betterment of our society.
“Sectarian bickering and policies which favour artificial segregation can no longer be tolerated.”