Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Fleming has called on the DoE Minister Mark H Durkan to increase the Rates Support Grant for Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) and to give certainty to councils by announcing grant levels without delay.
Cllr Fleming said: “The Rates Support Grant is a vital contribution from central government and provides less well-off Councils with the means to provide public services and reduce the burden on rate payers.
“The DCSDC area is the victim of significant socio-economic deprivation and requires government assistance in the form of the Rates Support Grant to redress the imbalances.
“Undue delay by the minister in announcing support grant levels could result in councils striking a higher than necessary rate thereby disadvantaging rate payers. Or even worse if councils strike a rate which is not properly supplemented by the Rates Support Grant it could result in reduction in services.
“Minister Durkan is primarily responsible for deciding what level of support Council receives and following a reduction in support last year Sinn Féin is calling on him to ensure that increased funding is available this year.
“Council also needs certainty on grant level in order that it can strike a responsible rate. Minister Durkan needs to act with urgency as we are running out of time before the rates have to be struck.”