District facing hike in rates

Fundraisers at Bow Street
Fundraisers at Bow Street

Banbridge Ulster Unionist councillor Glenn Barr says his party will do all it can to prevent a rates rise for the area once the council merges with Craigavon and Armagh, next April.

Mr Barr said the party had always been strongly opposed to the new format of the super council and he has assured rate payers that they will continue to work hard in keeping rates for local domestic and business owners as low as possible.

It has been estimated by Craigavon Councillor Arnold Hatch that the rates in the current Craigavon Borough Council area are likely to be reduced slightly by the move to ABC, while Banbridge will be paying around 2.43 per cent more and Armagh 2.9 per cent less as the new body works out the levels for the April 2015 take-over.

Mr Barr said that the Ulster Unionist Party will work hard to strike a balance.

Mr Barr continued, “I know that there is money, and have been assured by the OFMDFM, who have made a solemn promise that there will be, for places like Banbridge, a package which will help bring the rates down over the next four to five years.

“That is an assurance that is coming directly from the Finance Minister which we would welcome.

“The Ulster Unionist Party will continue to endeavour to keep the rates as low as possible.” It is expected that the new ABC council will avoid the extremes of other areas - Limavady rates are expected to be reduced by 7.2 per cent in the move from 26 councils to 11, while Castlereagh will pay an extra 10 per cent.