who read this site will know that rates and the
ability to pay them is a subject close to my heart.
I don't mind paying rates, as long as they are
fair and reasonable. What I object to is Peter
Hain and his fellow Brit Hanson telling me I must
I didn't vote for these clowns, nor did I vote
to be taxed out of existence. I hate bullies of
all shades and descriptions. We have more than
enough of them here in Ulster-The Wee North-The
Occupied 6 Counties-Our Wee Province-Hun Statelet
(insert your favourite phrase) without being bullied
by people who would run a mile from any genuine
I am one of the founders of the Fair Rates Campaign.
We do all the research, we write to the House
of Lords/Commons and whoever else we can get onside
Just to let you know, we had a meeting in the
Long Gallery at Stormont this morning at 11 o'clock.
We invited all the parties, and people interested
in the debate. We presented a 5 point starting
plan for their perusal and went through it step
We pointed out that PFI will cost every household
130 pounds per year from 2014/15 when taken with
other borrowing. This is the never-never our Grannies
warned us about.
This bunch of Ministers raised 126 million quid
more than they realised last year when they raised
the Regional rate by 19%. When we inquired where
this money had gone they told us that it was spentwhere,
they had no idea.
However, the meeting was very illuminating for
a lot of the MLAs who came. They were really taken
aback by the amount Belfast City Council overspends.
(I must set out an article on this at a later
date. It would frighten you.)
Anyhow, the SDLP were there in the shape of Alaistar
McDonnell and Carmel Hanna. McDonnell in particular
has been working his socks off lately on issues
of planning. Esmond Birnie was there for the UUP.
Whatever anyone thinks of the Unionists, this
guy is a real worker. The leader of Alliance,
David Ford, came along also to be briefed.
The head of the Consumer Council, whose name escapes
me, was also present and giving their latest findings
on the water charges and seeing how this would
tie in with rates.
I have bad news for you.
If the present system the Labour ministers favour
is allowed to go on, every working family will
be crucifed with council tax, never mind the Water
People in West Belfast who have bought their homes
cheaply, or maybe not so cheaply, will find that
the revaluation in 2010 will significantly raise
the value of their homes. There will be allowances,
not specified as yet (and I think they won't be
worth 2d), but the big bills will come in 2012.
Just a small example.
An ordinary working man, with a house now valued
at £140,000 quid in the West of the city
may not think his rates are too bad. That is because
the Government through the Rates Division deliberately
undervalued houses. His house was probably valued
at £60,000 for rating purposes. He thinks
he's on the pig's back.
Come 2010, his house will be up towards the £200,000
mark. I kid you not.
By 2012, when all the charges kick in, and the
help is withdrawn, his rates will be in the region
of £1700/£2000 quid.
This is without water charges.
I feel sick.
Oh, by the way the DUP sent a big hitter. Jeffrey
Donaldson isn't big in physical stature, but I'm
sure he sees the lie of the land. He was extremely
interested in a lot of our points, and raised
some searching questions.
A DUP councillor, Robin Newton was also there,
very interested in wastage at the City Hall and
Belfast City Council.
I can almost hear you ask"Have you
No, I haven't.
Sinn Fein did not bother their ass sending even
the lowliest observer.
Remember that when they come looking for a vote.
Ask ALL the parties when they come looking for
a vote what they mean to do on water charges and
Sinn Fein cannot claim to have forgotten the meeting
in the Long Gallery. I have been keeping them
up to date with the Fair Rates Campaign. The campaign
is NOT about rich people. It is about the people
who will bear the bruntthe people who work
and want to provide a home for themselves and