Council debt highest in NI

Thursday, 27 July 2017

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CAUSEWAY Coast and Glens Borough Council has accumulated more debt than any other local authority in Northern Ireland.
According to the Local Government Auditor's report issued last week, the council owed 69m on March 31, 2016.
In contrast Mid-Ulster District Council has just 10.8m of loans, while Belfast City Council has debt of 34m.
In total, Causeway Coast and Glens borrowings amount to 482 per person compared to a Northern Ireland-wide average of 264 per person.
The majority of loans cover capital projects undertaken by the old borough councils of Coleraine, Ballymoney, Limavady and Moyle. "Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council inherited the debt of four legacy councils, whereas all other councils inherited either two or three debt portfolios," said a council spokesperson.
“Further to this, three of the four councils whose debt transferred were amongst the smallest of the former 26 councils and therefore did not have the rates base to provide funding for necessary capital projects. This shortfall was made up by way of borrowing."
The council says its current capital programme aims to restrict exposure to increased borrowing for the next few years. But, it suggests, investment in facilities rate-payers expect is impossible without turning to banks.
*Read the full story in this week's Chronicle


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