HC Deb 14 November 1996 vol 285 c477
4. Sir James Molyneaux

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will review his proposals for the valuation and rating of docks and harbours in Northern Ireland. [2512]

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Sir John Wheeler)

It is necessary to revise the current provisions relating to docks and harbours in Northern Ireland in order to bring the rateable values of these undertakings into line with real current values and to maintain relativity with all other property included in the revaluation.

Sir James Molyneaux

Will the Minister consider delaying the imposition of the new rates in Northern Ireland until he has received the conclusions of the pilot studies here in Great Britain and thus avoid variations in the rates between one part of the United Kingdom and another? Will the right hon. Gentleman consent to study some papers that I have in my possession?

Sir John Wheeler

I shall be delighted to consider and study the papers that the right hon. Gentleman has. Indeed, I look forward to seeing them. The matters discussed in Great Britain are not relevant to the revaluation of ports in Northern Ireland at this point in time, but I shall be glad to consider the information that he has and see what bearing it has on the proposals being considered for Northern Ireland.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

Will my right hon. Friend make available to the House an assessment of the impact of the valuation on the improved harbour at Church bay, on Rathlin island, and on the improvements in Ballycastle? Will he consider adding to the kindness of his colleague the Under-Secretary of State, who met a deputation led by the hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley), to discuss the future of those who have been running the ferry between the two harbours, and see whether Richard Green, Tommy Cecil and others can have the opportunity of gaining personally from their service in the past, rather than losing out when a big subsidy goes in?

Sir John Wheeler

I am glad to tell my hon. Friend that the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Moss), will meet the people whom he mentioned later this afternoon, so the discussion will take place within a matter of hours.