DIAMOND Centre manager, Gwyneth McQuiston, says she has been left “speechless” by the borough’s rise in rates.
In a statement, Gwyneth, pictured, said she was dumbfounded by the increase, which she believes will hit local business hard.
“I hadn’t given rates a thought this year believing that an increase would not even be on the cards, that nobody who knows and appreciates the depth of the current recession would consider an increase on anything. “While the rest of us in business for several years now have been dealing with cost reductions, staff redundancies, reducing staff hours and simply not tolerating an increase from any of our suppliers I am simply dumbfounded as to the thinking of those who voted for an additional hardship onto the commercial businesses throughout the Coleraine borough. My simple question to them is why?”
Gyneth added: “This could be one step too far for many businesses and I cannot understand why anyone feels that that is an acceptable thing to do to their fellow partner who is striving under very difficult and enduring circumstances to keep the economy in our borough alive.
“The reality for the Diamond Centre is that this incoming year we have to find a further £14,688 to meet this rates increase and at time when one of our large tenants has just gone into administration with the loss of jobs – this simply does not add up for me.
“Another reality is that I had further cost savings to make in the month of February which I implemented but now that I have an increase of £14,688 three of the line items in the cost saving measures have been wiped out and where I find that now I have no idea.
“There are serious knock on effects, do I find it in further staff reductions meaning that hard working people are subjected to further hardship and on top of my reductions they too have an increase in their household rates bill – double whammy – is this not understood or at they not attuned to the hardships being lived everyday of the week by many many people?”