McKillop: Rates increase will hurt struggling families

SDLP Group Leader councillor Margaret Anne McKillop has said a rates increase will hurt struggling families.
She was speaking after Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council voted in favour of a 7.95% increase.
SDLP councillors voted against the increase, saying it would heap further pressure on those impacted by the cost of living emergency.
Councillor McKillop said:
“SDLP councillors opposed this rates increase put forward at council because we knew the impact it would have on struggling families right across this area. People who are already finding it tough to put food on the table and heat their homes will now have to find extra money from somewhere to meet this increase and more should have been done to mitigate it.
“The finances of this council have been much discussed in recent times and I believe that further savings could have been made to keep the rate as low as possible to stop passing these costs onto people in this area. While nobody wants to see services cut, a compromise could have been reached to prevent this burden being passed on.
“This situation has been compounded by Stormont and the British government’s failure to increase the Rates Support Grant and acknowledge the difficult situation that councils are facing. Tory austerity is negatively impacting every facet of life in the North and people here are suffering as a result.
“As councillors we should be doing everything in our power to deliver the best services possible at the lowest cost. This council has repeatedly failed in that respect and the public will be aghast at this decision. It’s disgraceful that council is making things harder for our communities at an already difficult time.”