Anomaly over rates exposed
Published 09/10/2007 | 10:03
Why no rates discount for single householders? Every single income household in England, Scotland and Wales gets a 25% discount, so to deny this to the people in Northern Ireland is unacceptable.
Belfast City Council aren't in favour of introducing this as they claim it can be abused, but they obviously haven't realised that under the computerised PAYE system it is quite easy for the Government to see how many salaries are earned per house.
Peter Robinson stated that he was in favour of lowering the £500,000 cap, using the logic that rates paid for services and that those living in homes worth over £500,000 did not necessarily use more services.
If this is the case, he should apply the same logic to single householders, who obviously use fewer services and produce less waste, but still have to pay, out of a single salary or pension, rates, essential utilities and the running of a home.
Mr Robinson also stated recently that the average Northern Ireland salary was 20% lower than in the UK, so obviously he is aware of the difficulties faced by thousands of ratepayers on below average salaries.
Ultimately, rates are a property tax and taxes can only be fair when applied as a percentage of income. Our Assembly should be introducing a local income tax instead of trying to make the new Rates Capital Value system work.
But maybe the decision-makers are on big salaries with big pensions guaranteed, maybe they live in houses worth well over £500k, and maybe the new system suits them very nicely?
Using Little, Paying A Lot Belfast