Long: Unionists forcing Castlereagh Council out of business

Castlereagh Borough Council has sent its biggest signal yet it is closing for business early, Alliance Councillor Michael Long has said – with late changes to spending set to stall any progress in coming months.

The local Councillor was speaking after Unionists proposed and passed a motion detailing strict approvals needed for any Council revenue spending above £5,000, a move that effectively hands all important decisions to the new Lisburn and Castlereagh super Council. The move was opposed by Alliance, SDLP and the Green Party.

Councillor Michael Long said: “Unionists are forcing Castlereagh into going out of business early, with long delays now forecast for even small decisions and a determination to micro-manage the last few months of the existing Council.

“This was a completely unnecessary move. There are already effective budget controls in place on spending, with limits set for when approval is needed. And it is clear this existing system works as we currently have an under-spend for the current financial year.

Castlereagh Council may cease to exist as it now stands, but that doesn’t mean the job of serving the ratepayers has finished. These ridiculous limits will only affect local people, with decisions tied up in Committees for months on end, effectively handing any decision making power to the new Lisburn and Castlereagh or Belfast shadow Council.”

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