Rates hike piling pressure on lower income households


FERMANAGH Citizens Advice Bureau has been inundated with concerned homeowners as once again people here are feeling the pinch with news of a 3% increase in rates.
Last week, the Herald revealed that over the past six years, rates for residents in Fermanagh has increased by almost 15% while for many local people wages have flatlined over the same period.
Kevin Lawrenson of Fermanagh Citizens Advice Bureau recalls a visit from a working woman who is currently struggling to pay her rates and like many others has not had a pay rise in years.
“The increase in payments for utilities – I am dealing with a woman who is on her own and has to pay rates. She is working but she has not had a pay rise in six or seven years.
“She is doing her best but she is having difficulty paying the rates but paying what she can.
“She has said that she is paying rates for one amenity – her bin lifted every week.
“There is no street lighting or street cleaning where she lives and she has to walk a distance if she wants to get a bus. In her view, the only thing she is paying for is her bins.
“Each year they are summoning her to court because she cannot fully pay her rates bill – she is paying for her bin to be emptied and receives no other amenities,” said Kevin.
The 3% rise was confirmed for 2018/19 with the council describing it as ‘an inflationary District Rate increase.’ Mr Lawrenson said, “there are a lot of people are angry and there is a lot of fear out there.”
He continued, “people are continuously getting letters about their rates, and from September 2017 I have never dealt with as many people who are going to court. It is not the Land and Property service who are making these decisions, it was a directive from the Minister who was in charge – and there is no Minister in place now.
“The Minister of Finance has made these decisions, and now they are not in work and there is nobody to turn to have an intelligent think about this.
“I do not understand why they take these people to court because it puts added financial pressure, and extra unnecessary stress.
“People are in financial difficulty, which is why they cannot pay their rates so why penalise them again? Why put more pressure on people, who are already in debt?”

To read more.. Subscribe to current edition

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA