HC Deb 19 May 1982 vol 24 c129W
Sir John Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the outstanding demand for rates and Housing Executive rents unpaid in due time; what steps are being taken for this collection; and what will be the responsibilities therefore under the change in departmental functions in regard to rents and rates.

Mr. David Mitchell

Rent arrears are a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, but I understand from the chairman that the total amount of rent arrears—including rates collected by the Executive—at 31 March 1982 was £14.1 million.

Information on arrears of rates for non-Executive property is available only as at 31 March 1981, when arrears totalled £5 million.

Responsibility for rate collection was transferred to the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland on 1 April 1982. All staff and procedures used in rate collection, including arrears, were also transferred on that date.

The Executive and the Department are making strenuous efforts to recover arrears, including the use of measures such as voluntary agreements, allocations from supplementary and social security benefits, attachment of earning and recovery through court action.