Council to pay back £1million in rates refund

Belfast International Airport. 
Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Belfast International Airport. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has been ordered to pay back almost £1million to Belfast International Airport.

Land and Property Services (LPS) has confirmed that the airport is due a substantial rates refund, of which the council is liable for £959,185.

It has arisen from Belfast International Airport successfully appealing its rates valuation with LPS.

A spokesperson for the local government authority said: “This is totally outside the control of the council and will have a significant impact on this year’s budget and future estimates.”

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, Councillor Paul Hamill added: “The full scale of this event is not yet known and will be confirmed by LPS in due course.

The announcement will have financial implications for the council in the coming year.

“We need to be careful about spend in this year and next year’s estimates until we are clearer about the implications of all of this,” Cllr Hamill said.

“As an immediate step, the council has commenced a review of expenditure and some decisions relating to spend have been deferred.

“At this time the council is still committed to a policy of no Compulsory Redundancies, which will be reiterated to staff this week.

“The Chief Executive and Directors are working to identify in year and future savings and members will consider this information at the Corporate Planning Workshop in October.

“On a positive note, Mr Graham Keddie, Chief Executive of Belfast International Airport has written to the council’s Chief Executive, Jacqui Dixon, to assure the council that a substantial proportion of the savings derived from this situation will be reinvested in the airport business to stimulate further growth on the airport site and additional investment by enterprises operating on the site.”