Dream of zero rate moves step closer

Craigavon Borough Council’s dream of a zero rates rise moved a step closer on Monday night, with the latest cuts in estimates currently standing at 0.26 per cent.

It requires just another £68,000 to be cut from the council’s £26m budget for the zero stage to be reached.

An in-committee session of the council heard that the target was well in sight, and the council’s estimates working group (EWG) reported that, with a month to go, they might even achieve a reduction in the rate.

But they made it clear that the council rate – which already sits at the lowest record since the council was formed in 1973 – was just one-third of the total.

Council expenditure goes towards leisure, waste collection and upkeep of cemeteries, and is added to the regional rate (set by Stormont) to make up the total sum.

Councillor Joe Nelson, chair of the EWG, said he could not comment on the latest rates situation, but last year he called for a zero rise.