Mr. Wm. Ross
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what criteria are used when deciding whether or not a church hall which is used for fund-raising activities by other organisations shall continue to be exempt from rates;
(2) whether the possession of an entertainment licence by a church hall renders that hall liable for rates.
§ Mr. Dunn
The possession of an entertainment licence does not automatically render a church hall liable for the payment of rates. The exemption of church halls from the payment of rates is governed by Article 41(2)(b)(ii) of the Rates (Northern Ireland) Order 1972 as amended by Article 7(1) of the Rates (Northern Ireland) Order 1975. A church hall is exempt only when it is occupied by a religious body and used for purposes connected with that body or for the purpose of any charity.
If it is used by organisations which are not charities and such use is not part of normal parochial activities and is not so 82W infrequent as to be negligible then, under Article 41(3)(b) of the 1972 order, the Commissioner of Valuation or district valuer is required to apportion the net annual value between the use for charitable purposes and the use for other purposes.
Mr. Wm. Ross
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many church halls in Northern Ireland have entertainment licences; and what percentage this represents of the total.
§ Mr. Carter
The licensing of premises used for public entertainment is the responsibility of district councils.