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Sinn Féin calls for proper ‘Equalisation Grant’ for new Derry/Strabane Council

5 November, 2008


Sinn Féin Chairperson of Strabane District Council, Cllr Jarlath McNulty has said that with the Review of Public Administration proposals to amalgamate Strabane and Derry City Councils there is an urgent need to ensure that a proper 'equalisation grant' be made available to the new enlarged Council body given that it will be a merger of two areas with the lowest rates income base and highest levels of deprivation in the six counties.

Cllr McNulty said:

"There are many practical implications and issues to be worked through as a consequence of the pending amalgamation. One of the main issues is undoubtedly the financial implications of merging two areas with the lowest rates income base and highest levels of deprivation in the six counties.

"Unless there is an appropriate level of subvention from the Assembly and Executive to take account of this inequality it will have major implications on the ability of the new Derry/Strabane Council to deliver the full range and level of services that other more 'affluent' council areas could deliver.

"Therefore, in a coordinated move the Sinn Féin council groupings in Derry and Strabane are seeking the support of both Councils for a motion we have submitted calling for 'the Minister to introduce an "equalisation grant" for councils to take into account their ability to raise finances and their levels of need and deprivation.

"The motion that will be up for debate at Strabane District Council on Tuesday 11th November will also call for recognition to be given to the large disparity between councils in the amount of income they can raise and in the levels of need and deprivation within their boundaries and for recognition to be given to the fact that the new Derry and Strabane council will be among the lowest areas in terms of income whilst experiencing one of highest in terms of need and deprivation.

"This is one of the key issues that need to be addressed to ensure that we have a level playing field of opportunity when the new Derry/Strabane Council area becomes fully operational in 2011 and I am hopeful that this motion will receive cross party support next Tuesday night." ENDS

Notes to editors:

The Sinn Fein motion has already been passed unanimously by Derry City Council. Below is full text of Sinn Fein Motion to Strabane District Council:

Aithníonn an Chomhairle seo an difríocht mhór idir comhairlí sa mhéid ioncaim ar féidir leo tógáil agus sna leibhéil riachtanais agus díothachta laistigh dá dteorainneacha.

Nótálann an Chomhairle seo fosta go mbeidh Comhairle úr Dhoire agus an tSratha Báin ar na ceantair is measa ó thaobh ioncaim de agus ar cheann de na ceantair is mó riachtanais agus díothachta i ndiaidh don dá Chomhairle teacht le chéile.

Mar sin de, glaonn an Chomhairle seo ar an Aire, deontas cothromaíochta a thabhairt isteach chun aird a thabhairt dá gcumas airgid a thógáil agus a leibhéil riachtanais agus díothachta.

This Council recognizes the large disparity between councils in the amount of income they can raise and in the levels of need and deprivation within their boundaries.

This council further notes that the new Derry and Strabane council will be among the lowest areas in terms of income whilst experiencing one of highest in terms of need and deprivation.

This council therefore calls on the Minister to introduce an equalization grant for councils to take into account their ability to raise finances and their levels of need and deprivation.

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