Ratepayers are being ‘punished’ by rates hike says councillor

BALLYCASTLE Sinn Féin Councillor Cara McShane has said that ratepayers are being “punished” with a rates rise in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area of over seven per cent.

She accused the DUP/UUP of “burdening” the ratepayer with a 7.65 percent hike in the district rate which council chiefs later revealed had been slightly reduced to 7.42 percent.

Cllr Cara McShane, Sinn Féin’s Council group leader, said the decision was “the result of four years of an effective rates freeze by the DUP and UUP in our Council.

“Sinn Féin proposed over the years for increases in line with inflation and to reflect the introduction of the Living Wage two years ago.

“These proposals were rejected”.

Instead she said a “comfort blanket” had been put in place and two parites had taken “short-lived populist decisions to set the rate increase at zero”.

“With not enough revenue to pay for the delivery of services, millions of pounds was taken from a Reserves pot which has now almost been depleted.”

She added: “The issues are toxic and we do not accept that this rates hike solves the problems.

“Sinn Féin brought in the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy last week to provide immediate assistance in our rates setting process. We have also supported the call for a forensic audit and review of structures within Council.

“We have demanded a medium to long term plan to help ensure that this Council doesn’t find itself in this situation again next year or the year after. It is imperative that every decision we take is in the interests of protecting ratepayers and Council services.”

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