Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council announces rates increase in a bid to save £2.5m

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has agreed a rates increase of 7.65%.

The decision was taken by Council members on Thursday evening, in a bid to save the cash-strapped council £2.5million.

It comes in a bid to bridge the £7million funding gap in the Council’s finances.

It comes as further cuts were announced, including cancelling the Portrush Airshow, which will not take place this summer.

The show has been a major summer attraction for the seaside town every August.

The news of its cancellation has been met with upset, however it is expected the move will save the Council over a quarter of a million pounds per annum.

A second cost-cutting measure comes with the closure of the Waterworld swimming pool, saving £80,000 per year.

Other cuts in a bid to save cash include increases to car parking charges, and public WiFi in towns across the Borough will cease.

A rates strike of this magnitude is deeply regrettable plus it’s wholly irresponsible. It has attached incredibly high risk when factored alongside our prudential indicators. With the striking of this rate without a forensic audit it appears the Council had a lot to hide from the rate payers.

Councillor Padraig McShane, Independent

He went on: "The Council’s overall dept is now beyond £80m - a rise of £11m this year. To service that dept it now cost annually, £10,300,000 or the price of a medium sized Leisure Centre."

In a statement, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said: "Council remains committed to providing a quality service to its ratepayers despite growing budgetary pressures and over the last four years, has applied minimal rates rises which have been the lowest across Northern Ireland.

"When Council formed in 2015, it inherited long term borrowing of £72.8m from its four legacy Councils. This type of borrowing is used to fund all capital projects carried out by Councils.

"Capital projects carried out by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council since 2015 include public realm schemes, extended brown bin collections, match funding for projects, tourism initiatives, caravan park improvements, sports facilities, car park upgrades and building maintenance, which have been completed to ensure that the Borough continues to be a great place to live, work and visit."