Long welcomes scrapping of proposed Belfast Council political assistance scheme

Belfast ratepayers will not have to fund advisers for local parties after the City Council backed Alliance concerns about a proposed political assistance scheme.

Alliance Councillor Michael Long, who was the only local Councillor to hit out at the suggested plan at a recent Strategic Policy and Resources Committee meeting, said the Council’s rejection of the scheme was a victory for ratepayers.

It would have seen around £700,000 collected from rates over the four years of the ‘super council’ and paid to political parties on the Council collectively to fund special advisers for each group.

However, the money will now be used to potentially finance the Tribunal Service or capital projects.

“This is a welcome move that all ratepayers will agree with,” said Councillor Long.

“Part of the reason for moving to the new Councils was to save people money. This proposal went against that and indeed all reasonable thinking.

“With budget cuts across all parts of society, it would have been breathtaking for the Council to agree to spend so much money in such a way. Ratepayers’ money should be spent on services for them, not providing support for parties.”


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