Over 1, 500 Fermanagh families to be hit by latest cuts

UNDER PRESSURE...Up to 1,5000 will be affected by the cuts

UNDER PRESSURE…Up to 1,5000 will be affected by the cuts

OVER 1,500 households in Fermanagh will be hit by the proposal to scrap relief payments given to some low income ratepayers if plans by the Finance Department go ahead. 

The proposals set by the department could see thousands of Fermanagh families effected by the changes which is said to save about £6 million towards the 10 per cent reduction in rates support.


However, the proposals have yet to be rubber-stamped by Finance Minister Sammy Wilson who is under-pressure to find cuts made by the government. The move was criticised by a local Sinn Fein councillor who accused Mr Wilson of targeting low-income families.

Cllr Debbie Coyle, pictured, said the cuts would have a severe impact on struggling families. “Bringing in measures like this will increase it and make it more difficult for people who are already facing hardships and this will only add to it. This is another hit for low-earning families,” she said.

“With the ever increasing prices of oil and electricity but there’s no interest in increasing wages.

“Families are constantly being squeezed more and more, we can only imagine the effects on people’s health this will have.

“There is no doubt that families are struggling trying to keep everyone going. I think the minister has to look at other options other than the one he has put forward.

“I want to look to see what the other options he has had placed before him to help reduce rates support so we can decide if this is the best way, but I can’t see it myself. “These cuts will not encourage those who are living on benefits to go and get a job.

“This decision by the Finance Minister is terrible and I hope he changes his mind, it’s unfair and doesn’t do anything for children.”


However the DUP minister said the proposal was the least worst option. “We have a difficult decision to make and the suggestion is that this is one area of rate support that we can reduce and make significant savings on without causing the type of hardship it might cause for some of the people who are on the lowest level of income,” Mr Wilson said.

Cllr Coyle added: “We are talking about families here that are on low incomes and will be hit the hardest. “There are policies and documents drawn up to alleviate child poverty but these will not help people working on the lowest income and these parents and children will be impoverished. We need to stomp out child poverty which will come from these cuts.”

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