Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Household rates to rise with inflation, finance minister says

Published 23/02/2016

Household and business regional rates will rise in line with inflation, Mervyn Storey said
Household and business regional rates will rise in line with inflation, Mervyn Storey said

Household and business regional rates will rise in line with inflation, the finance minister said.

The 1.7% increase from April is equivalent to a real terms freeze, Mervyn Storey said.

He added: "By freezing the regional rate in real terms for the sixth year in a row, the Executive has aimed to strike a balance between the needs of ratepayers during challenging economic times, and ensuring that public finances are sufficient to cover the priorities we have set ourselves."

Household bills remain the lowest in the UK by some margin.

The regional rate represents just over half of the typical tax; the other half being made up of district rates - which are set independently by the district councils.

Following agreement by the Assembly, the minister also announced the extension to two popular rate relief schemes - exemption for ATMs in rural areas and the empty shops concession providing a one year subsidy for new ventures occupying property that has been vacant for a year or more.

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