Causeway Chamber warns of ‘perfect storm’ for local businesses

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Causeway Chamber met with elected representatives on Thursday, January 23, to raise concerns from members on the current financial status of Causeway Coast & Glens Council and the rumoured rates increase of 15%.

Causeway Chamber informed elected representatives that a ‘perfect storm’ was brewing and going to affect many local businesses and the whole community.

A Chamber spokesperson said: “Many businesses are facing financial pressures from the current Reval 2020, increases to the national living wage and a substantial increase in local rates.”

Chamber representatives explained to councillors that they are engaged with Land & Property Services and are hosting an event to address the current draft revaluations with members on Wednesday, January 29.

“We welcome the recent announcement that the government is increasing the national living wage in April to address low pay conditions but we also understand the issues that this presents for business owners. “Unfortunately, our employees and the wider community will not see the benefit to the increase in wages as this will be consumed by an increase in local rates. The perception is that our local council is increasing rates to meet the current financial deficit which was recently discovered.

“Causeway Chamber is calling on our elected representatives and Council Executive team to work collectively for the greater good of the people within Causeway Coast and Glens when making decisions in the striking of local council rate. Councillors informed Chamber that the rates needed to increase by a minimum of 8% to provide basic services in the year ahead.

“Chamber advised that businesses are making tough decisions on a daily basis and if harsh decisions need to be made to see a silver lining then now is the time for senior management and councillors to address efficiencies, make decisions on future projects based on economic benefit and not be led by party politics.

“We are calling on the elected representatives to work with the council to evolve a plan to deal with the deficit that doesn’t unfairly disadvantage our members and to restore confidence within the community.”