Alliance backs Fair Rates Campaign’s five-point plan

Party South Belfast Representative, Allan Leonard, has backed the Fair
Rates Campaign’s five point plan and has demanded that a local income
tax be introduced to get rid of disgraceful rates hikes. Allan Leonard
also hit out at Conservative Peers for letting the people of Northern
Ireland down in Tuesday’s House of Lords rates vote.

Leonard said: “I strongly support the Fair Rates Campaign’s five point
plan. A cap on rates is totally unacceptable as it will mean that those
in cheaper houses will have to foot the bill for those getting their
rates capped. Northern Ireland will still have to contribute the same
total amount of money through rates even if the cap is introduced.

“The cap is a blunt instrument and it would only benefit those in
extremely expensive houses and would do nothing for older people or
those on low incomes.

“We also back the Fair Rates Campaign’s call for students to
benefit, not landlords. We want to end to landlords’ exemption to
rates, which they have because students pass on their exemption to them.

“Landlords’ exemptions must be stopped as they encourage landlords
to buy more properties. This pushes house prices out of the range of
first-time buyers and creates more HMOs which have ruined some areas of

“The only fair solution is to scrap rates and replace them with a
local income tax. People would be billed based on their ability to pay
and this would help older people and those on low incomes.”

With regard to Tuesday’s House of Lords vote on rates Allan Leonard
said: “We are all annoyed that the Conservative Peers have let Northern
Ireland down. Their actions punish every household here.

“It is abundantly clear that Conservative Peers achieved absolutely
nothing in the House of Lords, because David Hanson reneged on the deal
made by Lord Rooker within 12 hour of it being made.”


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