Northern Ireland news

Finance Minister Conor Murphy fails in bid to get accelerated passage for rates legislation

Finance Minister Conor Murphy. Picture By Hugh Russell

THE STORMONT finance minister has failed in his attempt to get accelerated passage for legislation dealing with businesses rates bills.

Conor Murphy sought to get the Non-domestic Rates Valuations (Coronavirus) Bill through the assembly with limited scrutiny, however, the move was yesterday opposed by a majority of MLAs.

The legislation would prevent challenges to Land & Property Services' re-evaluation of non domestic property values, which was published days after the first lockdown last year.

Mr Murphy said the bill "addresses an unintended consequence of the pandemic".

"Accelerated passage is less than ideal, and my department is having to undertake engagement on the bill and its provisions in a much more compressed time frame than it would wish," he told the assembly.

Accelerated passage was opposed by MLAs from the DUP, UUP, SDLP, TUV and People Before Profit.

South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said the minister had a "number of serious questions" to answer about the bill's impact.

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