More parties oppose public cash going to party groups

Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall

Further opposition has been voiced to plans which would see ratepayers’ money funnelled to political parties on Belfast City Council.

The idea had been revealed on Friday in the News Letter, with the suggestion being that £700,000 would go to party groups over a four-year term.

The Alliance Party had strongly criticised it, saying it would be used to fund political special advisors, akin to those enjoyed by parties at Stormont.

The DUP and UUP also came out in opposition to the idea yesterday.

Ulster Unionist alderman David Browne (Castle) warned such a move could bring the council into “disrepute”.

He said: “Whilst I realise that local councils are shortly to assume new major powers such as planning and economic development, I believe we should have the political and intellectual capacity to do this... We are elected by local people to make decisions for local people; we do not need a swathe of well-funded party advisers in City Hall to do it.”