Lisburn rate payers could be forced to foot a significantly higher rates bill as a result of the reform of local government, Ulster Unionist Council candidate Alexander Redpath has warned.
“There has only been one major report into the economics of local government reform,” said Mr Redpath. “This was carried out by PWC and it estimated that the initial costs of reforms to local government would be £118 million.
“This cost will have to be borne by local ratepayers before a penny is saved as a result of the scheme. The initial understanding was that most of this initial cost would be paid for by the Northern Ireland Executive. However, the executive have reneged on this and only a small proportion of the cost will be met.
“Moreover, Lisburn ratepayers will also lose out as a result of our merger with Castlereagh. Castlereagh has a significantly higher debt burden per head of population than Lisburn. Post-merger this will be the responsibility of Lisburn rate payers. Also in recent years Castlereagh has announced a series of large capital projects like the redevelopment of the Dundonald Ice Bowl which will add significantly to this debt.”