Cunningham welcomes rates freeze

11 02 2014

Pound Coins Stack 

Moyle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham says businesses and residents will welcome the decision by Moyle Council to freeze rates.

Councillor Dónal Cunningham said: “This is a good news story for residents and businesses that have faced considerable financial pressure because of the economic downturn.

“The unanimous decision by Council for a zero rate increase, in effect a 2% decrease when you take inflation into consideration, shows that Council is responding to needs of Moyle ratepayers.

 “Council will continue to examine finances even further to see how greater efficiency saving can be made. It is also important that the NI Executive recognises the steps we have taken and does all it can do to minimise the impact of rate increases.”

Cllr Cunningham said: “Despite the freeze in the rates, Council is still able to deliver improved services for Moyle. We are hoping to deliver on major Forestry Projects as well as improvements to other harbour, tourist and visitor facilities. We will also seek to improve sporting and leisure facilities throughout the area.”

Councillor Cunningham is also hopeful that Council will use the powers available to it to support a pilot project aimed at tackling fuel poverty and energy efficiency. “Council must demonstrate leadership in tough economic times. With the new power of planning, regeneration and community planning coming to local government it is important that Moyle positions itself so that we will be able to do so much more to shape our district, support business and tackle disadvantage.”

Outdated system of Business Rating making Town Centres unviable

4 03 2013


Castle Street

 Commenting after meeting with representatives from Ballycastle Town Centre traders, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called for a complete rethink of the Business rating system in order to save Town Centres.

 “The current business rating system is built around a model of town and village centres which no longer exists. Out of town and internet shopping has caused footfall in all our small towns and villages to fall to the point that many long standing small business are either at breakeven point or making losses. This situation cannot continue”

 Councillor Cunningham continued “There is no point burying our heads in the sand, the current system is outdated and is not working. We need to be honest and ask ourselves what are our towns and villages are going to look like in 10 years. If we want to arrest the decline we need to sort out a system of business rating that actually works”

“Another issue we need to address is that of empty properties, where  landlords are having to pay business rates on empty properties leaving them without  the cash to invest in the same properties in order to attract new tenants.”

“The Department of Finance and Personnel to their credit recently extended the Small Business Rates relief scheme, unfortunately it is now time for them to sit down again and come up with a completely new system- one that works.”