4% cut in grant aid to poor councils will present ‘significant challenge’ in Derry rates process

The council's lead finance officer Alfie Dallas.
The council's lead finance officer Alfie Dallas.

City accountant Alfie Dallas has warned that the slashing of central government grant aid to poorer councils across the North by 4 per cent this year, will have a significant impact on Derry City and Strabane District Council’s rates estimates process in the months ahead.

The council’s lead finance officer said the local authority will be joining other affected areas with a view to meeting senior civil servants or - if power-sharing is restored - future ministers for Finance and Communities, to discuss the cuts.

Mr. Dallas mentioned the reduction to the Rates Support Grant, which is paid to more economically deprived areas, like Derry, in a report to the council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesday.

“It is disappointing to note the impact of the four per cent cut applied to Rates Support Grant and this, along with further potential cuts to this and other central government grants, presents significant challenges for the upcoming rates estimates process,” he stated.

“Members will be aware that officers are liaising with the other affected councils to organise a multi-council delegation with relevant ministers or central government personnel in the coming weeks,” he added.

Last year £18.3m in rates support was paid out to entitled councils, with Derry and Strabane the recipient of the largest individual sum.