MAGHERAFELT Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Mc Peake was part of an all-party delegation which met with DOE Minister Alex Attwood last week on the planned councils reform.
“There are many grave concerns within local government at the moment around the lack of financial support coming from the DOE and Assembly for the planned review of public administration,” he said.
“The five member delegation made a strong case for government financial assistance if the reforms are to proceed. Earlier costings had estimated that up on £120m would be needed to simply reduce the 26 councils to 11. If this is still to be the case then Councils cannot nor should not be expected to pay the cost themselves.
“There is no way what-so-ever that local ratepayers should be asked to pay for these costs. During the 2 hour meeting the Minister was given a very clear message that if reform is to work then the councils must be given the proper resources to carry it forward.
“Whilst Mr Attwood took the views on-board unfortunately he provided no re-assurance that the issue would be resolved to councils` satisfaction.”