Sinn Féin councillor Deirdre Hargey has welcomed today’s decision by Belfast City Council to recommend a zero per cent increase in the rates for the coming year — despite unionist attempts to push through "a cuts programme”.
The Sinn Féin councillor who is chair of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee said:
“This is the first time in living memory that we have managed to have a zero increase in the striking of the rate and is testament to prudent planning and crucial efficiency savings by our Council management and staff.
“This is the right balance to ensure we can give support to our businesses while continuing to invest in our ambitious £150m investment package for Belfast.
“The alternative by unionists to introduce a new 'cuts programme' and abandon investment projects would result in job losses, dent confidence in our city and deepen the economic crisis. Putting hundreds of Council workers on the dole is the last thing we should be doing if we want to help our city through this recession.
“Unionists proposed to committee a 'cuts programme' which would be disastrous for Belfast. This is a time to invest in the future not to slash and burn.
“Fortunately their proposals were rejected by the other parties to ensure Belfast will get the Innovation Centre at Springvale, the Convention Centre at the Waterfront Hall, the Digital Hub at Crumlin Road, and enhanced investment in our parks, leisure facilities and small business support.”