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Explanatory Memorandum to Rates (Capital Values, etc.) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006


6.There was strong support for the move from rental to capital values in the domestic sector during a consultation exercise in 2002. This led to the publication of a policy paper in July 2004 and, following a further 16 week consultation, a report in March 2005, which set out the Government’s intention to introduce a discrete capital value based system in April 2007, a new rate relief scheme for those on low incomes, transitional relief over a three year period, a new independent valuation tribunal and a range of enabling powers to allow the new system to be varied, if considered necessary, for example by setting a minimum or maximum payment.

7.A separate consultation was launched in February 2005 on a number of proposals to change the current charitable rating exemptions and reliefs, including the exemption of community halls and the increase in the level of sport and recreational relief. The responses were generally supportive of the proposals.

8.The legislation itself was also the subject of consultation, which commenced on 7 October 2005 and ended on 30 December 2005. 14 responses were received. There was general support for the provisions dealing with the exemption of community halls and sport and recreational relief, although concern was raised around the prescribed list of organisations covered by the community halls exemption and the need for further relief for sport and recreational clubs. The responses on the domestic reforms were more mixed and focused largely on the wider policy measures, a number of which are referred to in paragraph 6 and will be addressed in a further Order in Council to be published for consultation later this year. Where comments were provided on the detail of the Order, these largely confirmed that the provisions gave effect to the Government’s policy intentions. One response questioned the scope of the community halls provisions. However, all other respondents were supportive. The Proposal for the Order was also debated in the House of Commons Northern Ireland Grand Committee in November 2005.

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