Over four years council cost cutting has left ratepayers £12m better off, but have services suffered?

By Peter Winter

Reporter:

By Peter Winter

Email:

peter.winter@thechronicle.uk.com

Council cuts prompted by next-to-no rates increases over the last four years have saved households around £12m in rates rises.

That's the sum that would have been required to match inflationary pressure and maintain spending at 2015 levels when the current mandate began.

“Over the first four years of the council there were 30 per cent of rates pressure and yet we raised rates by only 1.5 per cent,” said Chief Financial Officer David Wright.

“Some was admittedly offset by higher levels of income, but much of that pressure was absorbed by officers implementing cost saving measures across the entire range of council services,” he added.

The 1.5 per cent rise in domestic rates referred to by Mr Wright was imposed in Causeway Coast and Glens' first year – right after the four neighbouring local government areas of Moyle, Coleraine, Ballymoney and Limavady merged.

For the next three years a unionist majority ensured rates were frozen, despite rising costs that, when totalled, amount to £12.4m.

*Read the full story in this week's Chronicle.

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