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Douglas sets rate at 509p for 2023-24

Tuesday, 31 January 2023 10:16


 A ‘balanced, responsible and sustainable budget’ for Douglas, its community and the future has today (Tuesday) been unveiled.


Douglas Borough Council voted unanimously to set a rate levy of 509 pence in the pound at its annual rate setting meeting.


It constitutes a realistic rise of 8.76% for the financial year 2023-24.


Council Leader, Councillor Mrs Claire Wells, said the rate had been set against a series of financial pressures and severe headwinds, including rapidly rising inflation, soaring energy prices and a considerable increase in interest rates and Energy from Waste disposal fees.


Acknowledging that the Island’s local authorities were collectively facing significant budgetary pressures, Councillor Wells pointed out the Council was keen to ease the pressure on ratepayers where it could.

As a result, she said the Council had deferred spending on "nice to haves" and instead focused on essential services and maintenance schemes and remained committed to investing in the community via a number of capital programmes.


She cited a new £2.9 million Eastern District Civic Amenity Site, being developed in partnership with other Eastern District local authorities, which is due to open later this year; a £2.9m investment on the Promenade including replacing the Marine Gardens play park damaged by Storm Barra; a major investment in carbon reducing solar panel installations and LED lighting schemes and a programme of restoration and improvement works at the Council owned and managed garden squares.


In addition, £13.5 million has been set aside for the ongoing social housing developments.


The Council Leader went onto say that adapting to change and challenge was vital in a challenging economic climate and that prudent financial management had enabled the authority to maintain frontline services and invest in the maintenance and renewal of its assets and infrastructure.


Addressing Members this morning, Councillor Mrs Wells said: ‘‘As residents who all live and pay rates in our community, every Douglas Councillor is aware of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis across the Island. We also recognise that so many businesses and organisations are having to deal with the harsh economic realities.


‘Striking the balance between providing fairly for the community, improving our infrastructure and enhancing and protecting our environment was pivotal in this budget as our frontline services play a vital role in supporting ratepayers through challenging times.


‘The Budget we have presented today is a balanced, sustainable budget for Douglas, its community and provides value for money for our ratepayers in this, our city, the capital of the Isle of Man which I and many others are proud to call home.’


To view the Leader of the Council’s budget speech click here.