§ Mr. Peter Robinson
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many summonses for the nonpayment of rates have been issued by the rating division of the Department of the Environment in each of the last four years;
(2) how many summonses issued for the non-payment of rates by Department of the Environment rating division in each of the last five years were subsequently withdrawn; and what were the principal reasons for these withdrawals;
(3) what was the total cost of issuing summonses by the Department of the Environment rating division for the non-payment of rates in each of the last five years;
(4) what is the policy of the Department of the Environment rating division with regard to cases where summonses for the non-payment of rates have been issued wrongly; and if, in these circumstances, it is his policy to seek to recover from those summoned the cost of the summons.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
The numbers of summonses issued are as follows:
Numbers 1981–82 24,496 1982–83 15,229 1983–84 25,382 1984–85 34,505
The numbers of summonses withdrawn are as follows:
Numbers 1980–81 15,492 1981–82 18,130 1982–83 *11,400 1983–84 21,279 1984–85 25,749 * Estimated figure.
The principal reason for withdrawing summonses was the payment of the debt prior to the court hearing.
Legal expenses incurred in the issuing of summonses are as follows:
Numbers 1982–83 22,511 1983–84 86,604 1984–85 244,162
Costs for 1980–81 and 1981–82 are not readily available.
The policy in those cases where summonses have been issued wrongly is to withdraw the summons and to waive the costs involved.