The Causeway Coast & Glens Council DUP Group have issued a statement on the Causeway Council Rates Strike for 2021/22, which was passed this evening during a special meeting at 2.49%.
The group statement reads:
“In recent years, our Council has had to grapple with difficult financial challenges. This has been reflected in our decisions on the annual rate. Over the lifetime of the Council, we have struck a rate of 1.5% followed by 3 years of 0% and then 1.5% again. Last year, the increase was 7.65%, but it is important to analyse this in the round. Causeway Council was the 2nd lowest in terms of rates increases over the last 5 years. The rate of inflation for the same period was 11.59%, so we have actually delivered savings for businesses and households.
“The DUP is a party which believes passionately in economic growth and prosperity through the promotion of the business sector. We are therefore a party of low rates for both domestic and non-domestic premises alike.
“The rate of 2.49% for 2021/22 has been arrived at through careful management. We have worked hard to reduce pressures on the budget, thus achieving a saving of £3.96 million. In light of the prevailing financial and economic climate, and the exceptional circumstances arising from Covid-19, this has been no mean feat.
“We would obviously prefer no increase at all, but that is not the real world at the present time, and we feel that 2.49% should be manageable for most ratepayers. It will mean an additional pressure on the average home of 30p per week, or £15.60 per year.
“While there are, of course, outside pressures – such as rising costs in waste contracts, insurance and wages which are agreed nationally – the DUP group has worked tirelessly to improve Council efficiency. We pushed for a budget process, workshops and a finance working group to scrutinise our budget and finances. We also proposed bringing in outside help through PwC, and the appointment of an interim Finance Director who is currently being recruited. We also pushed for car parking charges in seaside towns, and these, although controversial in the eyes of some, have secured significant levels of revenue which have helped to take some of the pressure off the rate-payers of the Borough.
“The rate-payers of Causeway Coast and Glens can rest assured that the DUP will continue to do all it can to deliver value-for-money for all”.