Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Local Government Finance Bill cont'd

The UUP's Danny Kinahan said "very strong guidance" must be offered to councils to ensure they make the most out of changes offered by the Local Government Finance Bill, on 25 January 2011.

The bill deals with funding of district councils and severance pay for councillors following the shake-up of local government under the Review of Public Administration.

Mr Kinahan said there would have to be "some hand-holding" when the bill was enacted due to a concern that councils could interpret the new legislation differently.

Environment committee chairperson Cathal Boylan said the bill perhaps did not seem important to the "ordinary person on the street" but every citizen in the north would be impacted by the greater responsibilities given to local authorities.

The consideration stage of the bill focused on a series of amendments.

Mr Boylan's proposed amendment to clause 27 was challenged by Environment Minister Edwin Poots.

The amendment sought to add an assurance that the grant made to councils by the department would not be reduced during the financial year in which it had been given.

Mr Poots said he could not support the amendment as this would limit his department's finances if money was needed urgently and in-year cuts were necessary.

This amendment was passed with 53 voting aye and 33 voting no. All others passed uncontested.

Watch part one of the Local Government Finance Bill debate

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