Ratepayers in County Fermanagh are bracing themselves for a whopping hike in their rates bills this year.
Those living in the lakeland county will see the biggest rise in Northern Ireland (8.52%).
The next highest increases are in North Down (8.16%), Carrickfergus (7.98%) and Antrim (7.76%).
However, the announcement of the new council rate levels for Northern Ireland has brought good news for those in Castlereagh, who will pay nothing extra when the bills are issued in April.
Chairman of the council’s Finance Committee, Jack Beattie, said it was great news for people living in the area. “Given the current economic recession the council has agreed to strike rates which would support the ratepayers in Castlereagh and help them through this difficult time,” he said.
Environment Minister Sammy Wilson said district rates cover the costs of local services, including refuse collection, leisure services, economic development and environmental services. He also pointed out the hikes could have been more severe had it not been for an £8m package announced recently by the finance minister.
“Nigel Dodds’ recent announcement on a package of assistance for councils, worth up to £8m next year, has alleviated the concerns expressed by some councils,” he said.
The regional rate, which makes up half the rates bill, is unchanged.