“It is not a bail out..”

On Stormont Live today the Northern Ireland Finance Minister, the DUP’s Nigel Dodds, was asked to “break down” the reported “support package of up to £8million” to local Councils amid warnings of large rates rises. The answer is in the ‘notes to editors’ in the ministerial statement – which also points out that he’ll need new subordinate legislation to finesse the figures..

1. The sums owed from all councils, as a result of the BT and MOD settlements amount to around £5.6million, the maximum that could be phased over five years. The maximum benefit to councils next year (covering actual income towards the end of the year and providing assistance with rate levels) will be up to £3.3million.
2. Councils will no longer have to pay a 3% contribution towards the cost of administering housing benefit, providing a benefit of £2.4million in 2009/10. There will also be a one off reduction in the cost of collection, of £0.6million, associated with the upgrade of LPS’ IT systems. The impact of the landlord allowance, for NIHE properties, will also be reduced, benefiting councils by around £1.6million in 2009/10. In total this represents benefits of £4.6million in 2009/10.

As far as I can tell the first step just requires the agreement of BT and the MOD. As for the second point, if the Councils don’t contribute those amounts.. who does? The landlord’s allowance is to be reviewed, but the other costs will have to be met by someone.

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  • The Raven

    Of course ALL Councils could considerably cut their budgets. But you would have to make do without many leisure facilities, green spaces, town halls, small business assistance for those not within the lauded halls of INI clientship, many environmental health functions…the list goes on.

    Natch, though, it is easier for many posters just to knock the Councils. I await the inevitable from “Outraged of Holywood”.

    The above package is buttons.

  • Elvis parker

    I love the way Doods was followed by others on to the TV and airwaves as they struggle to show that they are ‘doing something’ to help people – seemingly oblivious to the fact that if this money is spent keep rates down that it has to come of some other perhaps equally desreving budget.
    Thats the problem with devolution – our local politicians want to be seen to be solving problems simply by throwing money at them.