Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon council rate increase of 5.17% is unanimously agreed

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) councillors have struck the rate for the incoming financial year 2024/25 at 5.17%.
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This represents an additional 57 pence per week in the average domestic rates bill – or £2.28 per month – and reflects the new budget set for 2024-25, to operate and maintain vital public services and deliver a significant capital investment programme across the borough.

For an average-sized business within the borough the increase is approximately £25 per month, or £300 per year.

The increase takes into account external financial challenges and cost pressures associated with the rate of inflation, the significant rise in energy costs and staffing costs following the national pay increase.

Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley. Picture: ABCBC.Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley. Picture: ABCBC.
Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley. Picture: ABCBC.

To mitigate against rising costs, ABC Borough Council has set a savings plan of £1.27m through a critical budget review and agreed efficiencies measures.

ABC Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley (DUP, Craigavon DEA) stated: “The council has carefully and rigorously agreed a rate that balances priorities, despite external financial challenges, and ensures vital public services are delivered while further investment in our communities, towns and villages continue.

“The agreed budget will continue to drive economic growth, deliver on a programme of capital investment and keep the burden on our ratepayers to an absolute minimum.”

The rate set is used to finance local public services including refuse collections, recycling, leisure, tourism, and community facilities, as well as other key planning and building control services, and an annual events programme to support the local economy and ‘boost civic pride’.

ABC Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Sorchá McGeown (Sinn Féin, Lurgan DEA), welcomed what she saw as prudent financial management at council level.

“Significant work has been undertaken through the efficiencies programme to minimise the impact on our residents and businesses,” said Cllr McGeown.

“Those saving measures are already in place and I want to thank all members and officers for their diligence in setting the lowest possible rate.”

Key investment projects underway include a £6m public realm scheme in Banbridge town centre, with a further £3.2m to expand the FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio outside the market town.

Heritage-led regeneration projects in Armagh (£6.2m) and Lurgan (£6.6m) will provide a major enhancement, bringing buildings back into sustainable use, along with £4m planned for rural areas to enhance villages and small settlements.

Continued investment for health and wellbeing facilities remains a priority, according to ABC Council, including the delivery of the play park strategy, upgrading pitches, and maintaining high-quality services across all centres.

The domestic rate for 2024/2025 will be 0.5067 pence. The non-domestic rate for 2024/25 is 29.9353 pence.

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The new council rate was proposed by Councillor Liam Mackle (Sinn Féin, Lurgan DEA), and seconded by Alderman Mark Baxter (DUP, Lagan River DEA), at a special Council meeting held on February 8.

Rates bills are made up of two parts – the local district rate which pays for council services and the regional rate which pays for services provided by central government. The regional rate has yet to be agreed.