'Antrim is being left behind'

AS the council limps towards the final months of its first full term, a former Mayor of Antrim has warned of a ‘serious disconnect’ between civic leaders and many of their ratepayers.

The creation of the ‘super councils’ was supposed to bring huge savings to cash-strapped local authorities.

Which was just as well, given the extent to which many had slipped into the red in the years running up to the forced marriage.

In 2012 Antrim had outstanding debts of £15.2 million, placing it at number 14 of the 26-council area league of shame.

But Newtownabbey was way out on its own with debts of £46 million, nearly double the runner-up in the big lending list.

A problem shared, however, is a problem halved and the merger shared that financial burden wider than ever before. Surely the projected savings would cover the interest?

Not necessarily. Quite the contrary, in fact. The Antrim Guardian recently dug into the figures and they revealed that the new council was actually proving more expensive to run.

Now former UUP Mayor Adrian Watson has waded into the debate, claiming that the people of Antrim are rapidly losing confidence in the new structures.

*Read the full story in this week’s Antrim Guardian

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