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Rates bills winging way to homes and businesses

Rates bills will start landing on doormats across Northern Ireland this week.

Household and business invoices for the period 2013/2014 are currently being issued by Land & Property Services (LPS) and will also include any debt from previous years that has not yet been paid.

An LPS spokesman highlighted the importance of paying rates.

"As of March 31, 2012, there were 559,000 ratepayers across the 26 council areas.

"The net amount of rates collected for the financial year 2011/12 was £1.65bn.

"This money is vital for our local economy, as it is invested in public services such as healthcare, education and roads as well as helping to fund numerous council services objectives including recreational facilities, building control, bin collection, tourism and local events," he said.

LPS is asking ratepayers to contact them if there is any information on the bill which is incorrect, or their circumstances have changed.

"Staff will also provide information on a number of payment options which are available," said the spokesman.

"The easiest and most convenient method is by Direct Debit. This enables the cost of the rate bill to be spread over a 10 month period and helps ease the financial pressure."

For domestic ratepayers, there is a 4% discount if the bill is settled by May 3. This is not available to those who pay rates on empty homes.

For further information, log on to www.nidirect.gov.uk/rates or for non-domestic customers, at nibusinessinfo.co.uk/rates. You can also telephone the LPS on 030 0200 7801.

Belfast Telegraph