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Newry, Mourne & Down Council strikes 2022/23 rate – what does it mean for the district?

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason (right) and Chief Executive, Marie Ward

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has tonight (Monday) struck a district rate for the April 2022 – March 2023 financial year of 1.95%.

The Domestic Rate for 2022/2023 will be 0.4224 pence (2021/2022 equivalent 0.4067 pence). The Non-Domestic District Rate for 2022/23 will be 24.9209 pence (2021/2022 equivalent 23.9970 pence).

Last year’s rates rise was 1.59%.

Speaking about the importance of striking the rate and what this means for local residents, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said: “Setting the rate is a big responsibility for Councillors. It is a process which requires careful financial planning to allow us to continue to deliver high quality essential services for our businesses and households while moving forward with our exciting and ambitious programme of capital projects that will regenerate our towns and cities and boost our economy.

“I am pleased that we have been able to keep the rates increase below 2% despite the economic challenges, as it is crucially important that we strike a balance between supporting our ratepayers through challenging times and continuing to invest in the future of the district.

“We have an ambitious vision for the district which is set on creating vibrant, prosperous, clean and sustainable communities for our local people where everyone can achieve their full potential.

“Therefore, I am particularly delighted that since the signing of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) in December, major tourism and infrastructure projects will go ahead, creating significant employment opportunities that our citizens will feel the benefits of.”

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chief Executive, Marie Ward said: “In the past year we have delivered on many important initiatives and made good progress with planning for major capital projects under the Belfast Region City Deal.

“We have high aspirations for our district which would see economic growth, provide job security, improve road and digital infrastructure and create world class visitor experiences.

“BRCD investment is the catalyst that we have been waiting for. This investment means that we can fully deliver transformational projects that will create the right circumstances to achieve these objectives for our residents, businesses and visitors.

“The sustainability and care of our district is intrinsic to the Council’s future plans, which is why environmental sustainability is a key objective in the development of our capital projects, so that they may provide economic growth for the region in an inclusive and sustainable way. Over the next year, we will continue to work on projects and initiatives that will aim to reduce our impact on climate change, increase our resilience and raise awareness of the need for action on climate. We will work with key partners to progress important local strategies on Climate Adaption, Active Travel, Delivery of Sustainable Food Places, Single Use Plastics and on the Local Biodiversity Action Plan.

“It is our aim that we deliver high quality essential services to our residents, which operate efficiently and seamlessly throughout the year.

“For this reason, we will be investing £6.5million on a new fleet of over seventy five modern and more efficient vehicles across a range of services including refuse collection, district cleansing and parks and grounds maintenance.It is anticipated that the Council will start to welcome these brand new vehicles by the end of 2022.

“As we make progress from the impact of the Covid pandemic, we are also currently moving forward with plans for the re-launch of our Tourism and Arts events programme, which aims to welcome visitors back to our arts centres, towns and City. Over the past year we have been busy with the upgrade and development of our parks and museums. Projects that will be progressed in 2022/2023 include the instalment of new trails at Kilbroney Forest Park, the continued significant investment into facilities at Delamont Country Park and Slieve Gullion Forest Park, with further Council investment planned for Castlewellan Forest Park once the Council takes over the management of the Park’s recreational areas from 1 April 2022. Plans for a new visitor recreation hub at Camlough Lake and for a community centre in Warrenpoint will be advanced over the next 12 months.

“We recognise that our communities have been hit hard over the past number of years which is why in 2022/2023, our community sector will benefit from £2 million of financial assistance grants for community and voluntary organisations. We will manage the establishment of the Peace Plus Partnership as well as the submission and delivery of the Peace Plus Local Authority Action Plan – worth approximately £5m.

“The Action Plan will provide priority projects on a cross community basis, resulting in shared and inclusive local services, facilities and spaces; and make a significant and lasting contribution to peace and reconciliation for the whole community.”

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