Rates rise in Mid and East Antrim

The householders of Mid and East Antrim are to face a 2.32 per cent in the district rate.

Fund raiser (EDITORIAL IMAGE)

The increase is above the rate of inflation, above the expected increase in the regional rate and the third highest increase of the eleven Councils.

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It effectively means putting £10 per year on the average domestic bill and £128 on the average non-domestic bill, before the regional rate is added, which may be nearly as much again.

Commenting, SDLP Councillor Declan O’Loan said he had to support the increase ‘but without enthusiasm’.

He said: “We have a very large capital programme indicated over four years. The level of debt involved, and the huge increase in it, is very large. Detailed business cases have still to come forward, and we are not committed to anything but the incoming year, but even for the nod of assent that we have given to the next three years, I do not feel that the figures we have been given enable proper testing against our attitude to risk. In relation to specific cases, everything that I have seen indicates that a new build of the Seven Towers Leisure Centre on a fresh site makes sense over any other option. In relation to Council offices in a St Patrick’s Barracks building, we need to be sure that modern open plan offices and energy conservation are possible and are value for money, and not just be carried away by sentiment.”