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Rating System

Volume 453: debated on Wednesday 22 November 2006

6. What progress has been made since 7 November 2006 on implementing changes to the Northern Ireland rating system. (100591)

The draft Rates (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 was made by the Privy Council on 14 November. It will come into operation on 1 April next year.

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. Will he explain why a retired teacher living in a house in Northern Ireland that is worth £300,000 will pay £700 more in rates than the Prime Minister will pay on his £3 million house in Connaught square?

If the hon. Gentleman does his homework, he will find that the situation has changed, because of the cap that we have introduced as a result of the St. Andrews agreement, which I hope he will support. Before he starts telling me, my Government and my party about fairness in local government, he should remember that it was his party that introduced the poll tax. That is what we remember about local government finance. The system that we propose is fairer than the current system and fairer than the poll tax, which his party supported.