Alliance lobbies Lords to halt rates crisis

Alliance South Belfast representative, Allan Leonard, has described how
his party is lobbying Peers in the House of Lords to scrap rates hikes.
Proposed rates legislation comes before the House of Lords for a vote
later today (Tuesday, 7th November). If the Order in Council is passed,
then unfair rates increases will apply in Northern Ireland from April
2007.

Allan
Leonard said: “Alliance has been lobbying representatives across the
House of Lords in a bid to halt the rates crisis in Northern Ireland.

“We have been given assurances by Liberal Democrat peers that they will
vote against this rates bill and we have asked Conservatives and
cross-benchers to do the same to ensure that these ludicrous rates
hikes can be scrapped.

“Our efforts include letters being sent to Lord Glentoran and other
Peers, making the case that it is only right for locally-elected
politicians in Northern Ireland to take this decision, and that
defeating this legislation in the House of Lords will allow this to
happen.

“Alliance has the solution to the rates crisis. We would scrap rates
hikes and introduce a fair local income tax. This solution would be
based on people’s earnings and would help older people and those on low
incomes. We need devolution here to let us get rid of rates and water
tax and get a fair system in place.

“Devolution must be restored as soon as possible so that we can prevent
these unfair charges from being forced on Northern Ireland by direct
rule dictators. I call on the sectarian parties to have some regard for
local taxpayers who are suffering immeasurably under direct rule, and
get devolution up and running as soon as possible.”

ENDS

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