Conservatives Accuse Ministers of Spin on Rates Issue
“Stop using pensioners as political footballs” say the Conservatives
[UKPRwire, Tue Nov 14 2006] The Conservatives have today made a public statement that Labour Party Ministers in Northern Ireland Lord Rooker and David Hanson have been ‘spinning’ to maintain their ‘blackmailing for devolution’ strategy.
Commenting on the Government’s acceptance of a Conservative amendment in the Lords last week to introduce a cap on domestic rates in Northern Ireland and give extra help to low income pensioners, Jeffrey Peel, Spokesman for the Ulster Tories said:
“In the House of Lords last week Lord Rooker, speaking for the Government, could not have been clearer.
“He accepted a Conservative amendment to the rates order and went as far as to commend it “word for word” to the Lords.
“Lord Rooker’s words bear only one interpretation.
“The Government has accepted the principle of a cap and further relief for low income pensioners. It is clear that the changes for which we have campaigned will now go ahead whether or not devolved government is restored.
“It is clear that the government is trying to wriggle out of its commitments in accepting the amendment. The government is trying to recover lost ground in terms of its blackmailing strategy to force the Parties into accepting St Andrews. However, there is an even more important issue here. The Government cannot use spin to undo an amendment to parliamentary legislation that it has accepted and commended to the House of Lords.”
“It is essential that Mr Hanson admits the truth. His spin is causing confusion and worry for a large number of people in Northern Ireland.”
“Pensioners on low incomes should not be used as political footballs. They need to know that they will have the chance of additional help with these bills when they start arriving in under six months.”
Notes to Editors:
The Conservative amendment, accepted by the Government and incorporated into the motion agreed by the House of Lords, reads as follows:
‘This House calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to work closely with the political parties in Northern Ireland; and, in the event of a system as envisaged under this Order being introduced, to set a valuation cap at £500,000 and to take action to help lower income pensioner households.’