Sinn Fein slams People Before Profit as Belfast agrees to rates hike of 1.89%
A row has broken out after Belfast City Council agreed an inflation-busting rates increase.
Sinn Fein accused its left-wing rivals People Before Profit of putting jobs and the future of community centres at risk "by siding with the DUP" in voting against the rise. An increase of 1.89% was agreed at the monthly meeting on Wednesday night. Inflation currently sits at 1.6%.
It is the second year in a row the council has increased rates.
The council's portion of the rates, which amounts to 45% of the overall rates bill, will increase the domestic ratepayer's bill by an average of less than £1 per month or less than £10 per year, the council said.
Businesses and offices will pay on average an extra £11 per month or around £130 per year according to the local authority.
People Before Profit councillor Matt Collins said: "At a time when the political establishment is championing a lowering of taxes on corporations and is squandering hundreds of millions in the RHI scheme, it is obscene to continually force the burden of payment for services on to working class people."
But Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey said that "when People Before Profit slam the rate increase, what they are slamming is the maintenance of council workers' jobs, a wage increase for thousands of ordinary council workers and vital funding for community facilities in our areas".
A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said: "It is important that we strike the right balance between reducing our costs whilst delivering high quality, value for money services and investing in our city."