Mid and East Antrim rates to reflect impact of pandemic-hit year

A special meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will take place on Monday evening to strike a rate.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 26th February 2021, 3:06 pm

The domestic and non-domestic rates are likely to see a rise as a result of financial pressures experienced by the local authority due to the Covid pandemic with a loss of revenue likely to run into millions following closure of services because of restrictions.

The council’s portion of the rates amounts to 48 per cent of the rates bills received by residents and businesses with the remainder set by the Stormont Executive.

The council has said previously that the rate is aimed at “mitigating the financial burden on residents and businesses whilst ensuring high quality frontline services and the delivery of major investments planned in Mid and East Antrim”.

The amalgamated Mid and East Antrim Council has inherited a debt of £67m which was reduced to £63m in 2020.

Northern Ireland’s 11 local governments have come together through the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) to highlight their “precarious financial position”  amid fears over further reductions in income coupled with non-domestic and domestic rates deficits”, to Northern Ireland Executive junior ministers.

In July, chief executive Anne Donaghy reported that the council has managed to save £75,000 weekly by furloughing 200 staff saying that it was about “trying to balance the books”. Click here

At the start of the financial year, householders saw a 1.74 per cent increase in their domestic bills while there was a  2.9 per cent increase in non-domestic bills.

Recently, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey announced additional funding of £2.435m to assist councils with their financial pressures.

An additional one-off allocation of Rates Support Grant amounting to £383,620 has been made to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The minister said: “My Department has worked closely with councils to support them through this pandemic which can be seen in the significant sum of funding that has been secured to date.

“Over £85m is being used to support councils with the loss of income and additional costs they have experienced as a resulted of the pandemic restrictions.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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