New council expresses concerns over proposed budget cuts

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Members of the Shadow Derry City and Strabane District Council have expressed concern over proposed spending cuts for 2015/16, outlined in the Department of Finance and Personnel’s Draft Budget.

The proposals, if implemented, would have a direct impact of over 2% to ratepayers in the Derry City and Strabane District area. Speaking at their monthly Resources and Finance Committee meeting yesterday, the Presiding Councillor, Colr. Maoliosa McHugh said the Committee had real concerns about the impact these cuts will have on ratepayers and the ability of Council to provide services. All parties were united in their disapproval of this initial proposal.

He urged the Committee to send a strong message back to the DoE as part of the consultation process, that the proposals for significant cuts to DoE’s rate support grant are strongly opposed by Derry City and Strabane District Council as they will have a serious impact on the provision of Council services.

“Ratepayers should not be expected to provide the shortfall and every effort must be made to put pressure on the DoE to go back to the drawing board to review the spending cuts. The Derry City and Strabane District Council area is an area with high unemployment and social and economic deprivation and the proposed cuts will have a detrimental impact on the new Council to deliver services,” he said.