Backlog lies behind £15,000 rates bill - claims businessman

Peter Mackenzie. (DER0814PG070)
Peter Mackenzie. (DER0814PG070)

A Derry businessman says a two year backlog of insolvency cases resulted in him receiving a £15,000 rates bill for a building he has had no responsibility for since being bankrupted in 2012.

Two weeks ago, the ‘Journal’ revealed businessman Peter Mackenzie was facing bankruptcy again because of the bill on the former Bookworm store on Bishop Street which he said he has not had liability for since being made bankrupt.

But Mr Mackenzie yesterday told the ‘Journal’ court proceedings have now been deferred and Land and Property Services (LPS), the body responsible for rates collection, have since apologised to him for the £15,000 bill.

“The truth of the matter is that Land and Property Services are only now getting around to dealing with the paperwork from 2012.

“I’ve been told their workload has practically quadrupled with the number of bankruptcy cases,” he said.

But a spokeswoman for the Department of Finance and Personnel, who have responsibility for Land and Property Services denied there is a two year backlog.

She said LPS cannot comment on individual rate accounts.

“LPS has dealt with a considerable increase in the number of insolvencies over the last number of years due to the economic recession although intakes of insolvent ratepayers has started to reduce.

“LPS can confirm there is not a two year backlog of insolvency work,” she said.