Cllr Matthew Armstrong | MEA Council to hike number of staff at Larne port costing ratepayers £5m
In a response to a question from local Councillor, Matthew Armstrong, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council have said it would require at least another 72 port staff at Larne to fully implement checks under the NI Protocol, and it has emerged today that this would be of a cost to ratepayers of £5 million pounds.
TUV Ballymena Councillor Matthew Armstrong said:
“I have had it confirmed to me today that Mid and East Antrim Council would have to increase the number of staff employ at Larne port from the existing 12 to 72 at the end of the grace period. Including supervisors and managers this represents an increase of 56 staff and 4 managers/supervisors.
“Of great concern to the ordinary ratepayers of Mid and East Antrim is the fact that the funding from the Food Standards Agency is only there until the end of March and we know from other information which emerged in this morning’s meeting that the cost of Sea Border staff will be £4.8 million. The people of Mid and East Antrim face being left with a £5m bill for a border they do not want.”
Councillor Armstrong continued: “It is absolutely clear to me that the Council needs to stop playing along with implementing the Sea Border. It is damaging our economy and as I said in the chamber last week it is cyanide to the Union. Gradually, the massive scale of the barriers portioning our nation are becoming clear. After this morning the massive financial threat to the ratepayers of my area is eye-wateringly obvious.
“The Council has already made clear its opposition to the Sea Border. It is now time to get serious and protect our place within the UK market, a requirement of the Internal Market Act TUV leader and North Antrim MLA Jim Allister added:
“While the Prime Minister today will claim that he is committed to the Union the facts which have emerged from the council meeting this morning show the truth of the matter and highlight the scale of his betrayal. It is time for Unionists to united in opposition to the Protocol and use all tools at our disposal.”
Councillor Armstrong’s question and the answer received are as follows:
Q. “How many additional staff would this Council need to employ for 100% checks under the Northern Ireland Protocol at the end of the Grace Period?”
A. "Food Standards Agency (FSA) have used the data currently available and, assuming there are no changes they have advised Council that potentially each shift would require a total of 17 officers. We are currently operating four shifts with three staff per shift, so the total staff compliment could rise to 17 x 4 = 68.
“Given that 12 staff are already employed this could equate to an additional 56 members of staff. This does not take into consideration the additional supervisors/managers that would be required and Council would assume that a minimum of four would be required.
“This would result in a total of 72 staff to deliver the Port Services required from Council.
“It is expected that the additional staff would need to be qualified Environmental Health Officers, however this requires further clarification.”