Sinn Féin Junior Minister in The Executive Office and South Antrim MLA, Declan Kearney has commended Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors and senior management for their leadership and hard work in reaching agreement on a zero rates increase for the next financial year.
Declan Kearney said,
“I want to commend the work of all Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors and the council senior management officials who have arrived at a zero rates increase for the borough. This will be very welcome news for all our local ratepayers, especially those families and businesses who have been impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The decision taken at tonight’s Council meeting resulted from long hours of careful planning to balance reduced income as a result of Covid restrictions with the need to protect essential council services, while also acknowledging the hardship caused to ratepayers by the health emergency.
“This crucial decision would have been so much more difficult, and less positive, without the significant support funding from our power sharing Executive, and regional Assembly, to help mitigate the pressures endured by our local Council and local government generally during the pandemic.
“During the last year there has been an unprecedented level of partnership between central and local government. Encouraging this closer working has been one of my priorities as an Executive Office Minister, and I am determined to ensure this model of strategic cooperation continues to be expanded into the future as an essential part of our economic and social recovery from this health emergency.
“Our councillors and Council officials deserve enormous credit for their management of council business and services under extremely challenging circumstances over the past year, and in balancing the books to bring forward much needed relief for ratepayers at a time of continuing economic uncertainty.”