2024 Consultations

WATER AND SEWERAGE

Consultation on Water and Sewerage Charges [Northern Ireland]

The Department for Infrastructure has launched a consultation on options for introducing water and sewerage charges.

The consultation, which has had its content approved by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, provides an overview of potential water and sewerage charging revenue-raising options that could be introduced in Northern Ireland, with a focus on creating sustainable public finances.

It sets out and seeks views on the main pathways through which water and sewerage charging could be introduced, how a relief scheme to protect vulnerable people might be developed, and how charging might be billed and collected.

It also asks about three other revenue-raising options:-

  • Charging customers for domestic septic tank desludging.

  • Recovering the cost of roads drainage from all customers.

  • The removal of the domestic allowance for non-domestic customers.

All non-domestic customers in Northern Ireland are charged for water and those who discharge to the public sewer are also subject to sewerage charges, and trade effluent charges where applicable. In cases where a property is used for both non-domestic and domestic purposes, the use of water and sewerage is considered as non-domestic use.

A domestic allowance is a free volume of water and/or sewage which is subtracted from the volume as recorded by the meter, before calculating the volumetric charge. This revenue raising option would involve the removal of the allowance currently received by non-domestic customers for domestic usage, meaning that such customers would be required to pay more.

The consultation can be found at Water and sewerage charges – options for revenue raising | Department for Infrastructure (infrastructure-ni.gov.uk).

Closing date for responses is 13 March 2024.


DEBT RECOVERY

Consultation on MaPS proposals for the delivery of its debt advice strategy

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) is now consulting on its proposals for the delivery of its debt advice strategy.

The consultation sets out MaPS' approach to debt advice up to 2028. It explores how they interpret their remit in relation to debt advice and the role that they could take in working with the wider debt sector on some of the key issues and challenges identified.

The consultation can be found at https://maps.org.uk/en/publications/consultations-and-responses/2024/consultation-on-MaPS-proposals-for-delivery-of-debt-advice-strategy#

The closing date for responses is 3rd April 2024.


LAND TRANSACTION TAX

Land Transaction Tax Special Tax Sites Relief

This consultation seeks views on the Welsh Government’s proposals to amend the Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Act 2017. The amendments will provide a relief from land transaction tax for qualifying transactions within a designated Welsh special tax site.

Annex B sets out the draft legislative provisions contained within The Land Transaction Tax (Relief for Special Tax Sites) (Wales) Regulations 202[4].

While there is no statutory duty to consult, consulting at this stage respects well established public law principles, as there is likely to be a legitimate expectation that the Welsh Government will consult on this matter. This consultation will run for a period of 8 weeks, which is shorter than the standard consultation period of 12 weeks. Given the technical and area specific nature of the draft legislative provisions, a shorter public consultation exercise has been deemed reasonable in the circumstances.

The consultation can be found at https://www.gov.wales/land-transaction-tax-special-tax-sites-relief.

The closing date for responses is 18 February 2024.

 

Land Transaction Tax Higher Residential Rates: Proposals to Amend the Refund and Exception Rules

The Minister for Finance and Local Government intends to put before the Senedd a proposal to change land transaction tax rules to allow homebuyers, in specified difficult circumstances, extensions to the current 3-year periods.

The proposal will be put before the Senedd once the responses to this consultation have been considered.

The consultation can be found at https://www.gov.wales/land-transaction-tax-higher-residential-rates-proposals-to-amend-the-refund-and-exception-rules.

 The closing date for responses is 17 March 2024.