Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what changes will occur in Northern Ireland's rates arising from the new Government proposals for local government financing in Great Britain;
(2) if he will make a statement on local government finances in Northern Ireland.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
[holding answer 29 April 1991]: The application in Northern Ireland of the reduction announced in the Budget is a good outcome for the Province's domestic ratepayers. They will contribute, on average, 36 per cent. less towards the cost of local authority-type services, which is in line with the switch to contral funding of 36 per cent. of the amount charge payers contribute to local authority expenditure in Great Britain.
The Government's review of the community charge did not extend to Northern Ireland, which has different arrangements for financing local government services and continues to operate a rates system. Some 90 per cent. of expenditure on these services is administered by central Government in Northern Ireland, to which the ratepayers contribute through the regional rate, while district rates contribute towards the remaining 10 per cent. of services which the district councils administer. Rate relevent expenditure on the services administered by Northern Ireland departments or their agencies, to which the regional rate contributes, is determined through the public expenditure survey system and as such is subject to the full scrutiny of Parliament. This expenditure is supported by central Government at a rate of 81 per cent. which indicates the Government's continued commitment to tackling the high level of need in the Province.
Ministers in Northern Ireland will, however, be examining the proposals in the recent Green Paper and will consider any implications they may have for Northern Ireland.