Northern Ireland

Causeway Coast and Glens council is £68.7m in debt

Giant's Causeway Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption On Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to bring in independent financial advisors to provide 'urgent and immediate assistance'.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council have confirmed they are £68.7m in debt.

On Tuesday, the council voted to bring in independent financial advisors.

In a statement, they said this move was to provide "urgent and immediate assistance with the current rate setting process".

Councillors decided to postpone a decision on setting rates until next week, pending further clarification on potential savings.

A motion, proposed by Sinn Féin Councillor Cara McShane, regarding the appointment of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) into Causeway Coast and Glens was passed on Tuesday.

The council agreed to appoint CIPFA and to defer any decision on rates ahead of the legal timeframe of 15 February.

They said this was to allow CIPFA to make recommendations, report to members and work with council to prepare a medium term financial plan and financial resilience review.

'Need for transparency'

Cllr McShane said Sinn Féin had concerns over "how little information" they had been receiving from council officers and the "true, accurate costs of delivering the [council's] services".

"There was no rise in rates for three years - the first rise in rates was last year.

"But there have been big expenditures that were not taken into account," Ms McShane said.

"The most important point here is the need for transparency and confidence in the system," she added.