Belfast Telegraph

Home and business rates up by 2.5%

Household and business rates will rise by 2.5% in line with inflation next year, the Finance Minister has said.

The Assembly approved the Rates (Regional Rates) Order on Monday.

Sammy Wilson said the Executive was helping ratepayers through challenging economic times.

"The level of regional rates, and the revenue raised, will be held constant in real terms. This will be of benefit to all ratepayers across Northern Ireland," he said.

He added: "To raise more from ratepayers, both domestic and commercial, would place an unacceptable burden on ordinary people during this economic downturn."

The regional rate is a contribution towards services provided by the Executive. It makes up half the typical rates bill. The rest comes from the district rate fixed by each council to meet its expenditure on services such as leisure facilities.

In a reassessment of business rates, Mr Wilson said more smaller businesses would receive more in exchange for increased contributions by the largest companies, mainly out-of-town retailers.

Mr Wilson said: "Any change should ensure that more of our smaller businesses get help, while increased support is provided by a sector that has not fared too badly in comparison.

"It is hoped that both measures could be in place from April 1 2012, and would apply for the remainder of the spending review period."

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