Communities Minister Should Act Now To Restore The Rates Support Grant

People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin said,

“The decision by the Sinn Féin Communities Minister to slash the Rates Support Grant (RSG) by 25 per cent is unacceptable. The loss of funding for Derry and Strabane Council amounts to nearly £750,000 and if left unaddressed will result in a direct 1.17 per cent rates increase.

“At today’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee meeting I proposed we invite the Minister for a direct discussion with Council about the impact this cut will have on people in Derry and Strabane.

“The Rates Support Grant goes to the least well-off Councils but has been cut by the Minister from £15.865 million to £11.924 million.

“Consecutive Stormont minister’s have reduced the RSG by nearly half since 2009/10 when it was £20.3 million. This is another example of how the Stormont Executive pays lip-service to addressing decades of neglect and lack of investment in Derry and the north-west.

“The corporate position of the Council is to see the RSG restored to the 2009/10 level. 

“People across the Derry and Strabane District have been hard hit by the pandemic, the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit, spiralling energy costs and increasing levels of child poverty. 

“We cannot expect the least well-off to take on further rates burdens in the coming year as a direct result of Stormont’s failure to invest properly here. 

“People Before Profit will do everything we can in Council and in the Stormont Assembly to protect people from the multi-pronged assault they are facing from the political establishment. 
“We need a real alternative to Executive failure but it will need to be backed up by people power.”