De-rating policy saves Loyal Orders £4.7 million

NORTH Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has welcomed confirmation from the Finance Minister Sammy Wilson of the benefit to communities across Northern Ireland realised from the de-rating of Loyal Order and other community halls in the Province.

Mr Wilson said that those who own and manage the halls had saved £4.7million since the Democratic Unionist Party delivered the measure in 2006.

Mr. Storey said: “This is good news for the Loyal Orders. The DUP recognised the key role played by Loyal Order and other community halls in Northern Ireland. Very often they are the hub of the community, and this is particularly the case in rural areas where often these halls are the only community facility.

“One of the largest financial outlays for the halls during the year were rate bills which ranged from anything between £500 for relatively small halls often in rural areas to several thousand pounds for some halls in major towns. On top of this many halls were facing severe issues obtaining insurance because of uncertainty in compensation arrangements should it be attacked.

“On both of these issues the Democratic Unionist Party secured vital changes, which lifted the costs from the halls, and from the community they are owned and managed by. It was from the pockets of ordinary members of groups such as the Loyal Orders that the money was coming from.

“The saving of £4.7m which has been realised through the de-rating of these halls since the 2006/07 financial year is a direct saving to the community and has allowed the groups to expand the range of activities and services provided within the local area.”

SAVINGS: Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland - £4.5m

Independent Orange - £36,000

Apprentice Boys of Derry - £80,930

The Royal Black Institution - £56,004