Rates support cut is attack on most vulnerable’ – McCallion

A planned cut to a grant that helps reduce rates bills in poorer council areas is an attack on the most vulnerable and should be axed, Foyle Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said.

“The rates support grant is a key inequality measure that helps the seven less well-off council areas keep the rates base as low as possible,” she commented.

“Therefore, it is extremely concerning that officials in the Department of Communities have now confirmed their intention to cut the grant.

“In the Derry and Strabane District Council, they are proposing a cut of almost £150,000. That is a relatively small sum in the context of the overall council budget but it hugely significant in terms of a fund which is a key measure in tackling inequality.

“Measures which are in place to assist the most vulnerable areas and citizens should not be targeted by cuts. We all understand that departments are under pressure as a result of Tory-DUP cuts to the overall budget but these should not be forced onto those who can least afford it.

“As MP for Foyle, I am seeking a meeting with the lead official in the Department and I will be pressing for an immediate reversal of this decision. I hope that the other council areas and parties support me in that.”