Wide disparity in rates increases: Public Finance

Northern Ireland’s 26 district councils have agreed their domestic and non-domestic rates for 2010/11, with variations in the increases imposed ranging from zero to more than 8%. 

Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council has avoided any rise in either category, while Moyle District Council has increased domestic rates by a mere 0.03% and non-domestic by just 0.01%

The highest increase is at Magharafelt District Council, where domestic rates are going up by 8.40% (8.37% non-domestic).  Belfast City Council rates are rising by 7.80% (7.81%).  Rates in both categories are also rising by over 7% in Ballymoney and Limavady borough councils.

Limavady has the highest domestic rate charge in Northern Ireland, at 0.4034 pence per pound of rateable value. The council has suffered exceptional high costs in rates repayments for Ministry of Defence military bases after a successful appeal and in subsidising a ferry link with the Irish Republic.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots said: ‘I commend those councils that have kept increases to a minimum. The disparity between the lowest and highest rates in Northern Ireland by councils would indicate that a number of them should be seeking to deliver high quality services more efficiently.’

Rates bills sent to householders and businesses in Northern Ireland comprise two elements: local rates set by district councils and regional rates, set by the Northern Ireland Executive. The regional rate accounts for over half the total rates bill, but has been frozen for domestic ratepayers for three successive years.

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