02/04/2015

Ratepayers To Receive New Rate Bills

Homeowners and businesses throughout the new Belfast District Council area are to receive their rate bill for 2015/16 this week.

The bill will show the amount due for the new billing period 2015/16, including any debt that may have been carried forward from previous years, along with any rate relief, where applicable.

The Department of Finance and Personnel's Land & Property Services (LPS), issue rate bills and collect monies on behalf of the NI Executive and local councils.

From this year, each domestic ratepayer will receive a personalised annual rates statement with their bill, to give households an indicative breakdown of what their rates are used for. For example; how much is spent on health, on education, on roads and other public services.

The non-domestic revaluation has been completed and bills for businesses have been calculated using the new rateable values.This is an estimate of the annual rental value of the property, as of April 2013. Meanwhile, a District Rate Subsidy has been introduced for ratepayers most affected by significant rises in their rate bill which are a direct result of the councils' merging.

The subsidy, which will be phased out over a four-year period, applies to domestic and non-domestic ratepayers. The reduction will be shown on a rate bill as a District Rate Subsidy, while the amount of District Rate Subsidy awarded will be shown in the Exemptions/ Reliefs/ Allowances section, it has been said.

A spokesperson for the LPS said: "There are more than 170,000 ratepayers in the new Belfast District Council area and through the payment of their rates they help to fund the provision of a number of vital public services.

"This includes healthcare, education and roads as well as helping to fund a wide range of Council services and facilities, ranging from building control and bin control to tourism and local events."

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Arder Carson, added: "The new Belfast City Council has agreed a rates freeze in the district rate for this year following on from the previous council which took the same approach in the past two years.

"We have taken into account the financial burden on citizens and businesses and the impact on incoming ratepayers. This is a significant achievement against a backdrop of unprecedented change in local government, cuts in funding to councils and in the midst of such challenging economic times.

"We will continue to invest in local and significant city-wide facilities and initiatives in all parts of the city with a view to stimulating the economy to support job creation and training opportunities, particularly for the young and long term unemployed."

(JP/MH)

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