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Rates for 2016 - 2017

District rate

We've agreed a minimal district rates increase of 1.48 per cent for 2016-2017. This is the first rates increase in Belfast in four years and it's still a cut in real terms as it's less that inflation. During the period, including the previous three years' rates freeze, the rates burden has been reduced by 6.8 per cent in comparison to inflation.

Each year we estimate our income and expenditure for the next financial year. Based on these estimates, we set a district rate for that financial year. The money that we get from district rates enables us to deliver our services during the year.

We have achieved efficiencies of £20 million over the past ten years and we've set a target of delivering another £6 million during the next three years. We're committed to providing high standard, value for money services and investing in our citywide and local facilities. We're also supporting the growth of the economy and creating job opportunities by supporting the development of office accommodation, hotels and retail as part of city centre development.

The 1.48 per cent district rates increase means an average weekly increase of:

  • 33p per month, or £3.96 per year for a terrace house
  • 50p per month, or £6.05 per year for a three bedroom semi detached house
  • 1.12p per month, or £13.46 per year for a four bedroom detached house.

 The district rate makes up around 45% of your overall rates bill. 

Regional rate

The regional rate makes up around 55% of your total rates bill and is set by central government. The regional rate, approved by the Assembly, is due to increase by 1.7 per cent.

Information for transferring rate payers

The Department of Finance and Personnel set out details for a district rates convergence scheme for ratepayers joining the new council areas. The scheme came into effect on 1 April 2015.

What is the district rates convergence scheme?

The scheme prevents ratepayers from receiving a sudden increase in rates as a result of local government reform. In Belfast this scheme applies to ratepayers who transferred from Lisburn, Castlereagh and North Down. 

A reduction is applied to any increase in district rate element of your rates bill. It applies to both domestic and non-domestic ratepayers who would face an increase in rates as a result of the merger of district councils.

Overall, £30 million was set aside for the scheme which runs for a period of four years from April 2015.

Who does the scheme apply to?

The scheme applies to any domestic or non-domestic ratepayer who experiences an increase in rates as a result of local government reform.

How will the scheme work?

The scheme was introduced in April 2015 and runs for four years. The following levels of discount will be applied to the district rate increase in your rates bill over that time:

Period  Year  Discount on district rate increase
Year one 2015-2016  80% discount 
Year two    2016-2017 60% discount 
Year three  2017-2018 40% discount 
Year four  2018 -2019 20% discount 

 

What does this mean for me?

The tables below show examples of how the rates convergence scheme affects you. The examples look at the district rate element of your rates bill, which makes up around 45% of your total rates bill. About 55% of your rates bill (the regional rate) shouldn't be affected by local government boundary changes.

The discount calculations below are based on the average capital value of a domestic property and the average net annual valuation (NAV) of an office building. The actual calculation for each individual property will be made by the Land and Property Service and applied directly to your rates bill.

Domestic properties

Here’s an example for a home valued at £125,000 (average Belfast domestic property value) transferred to Belfast in April 2015. The discount to the district rate, based on 2015 to 16 district rates, would be applied as follows:

Transferring area District rates bill before relief
(£)
District rate relief 
(£)
District rate 
(£)
Regional rate
(£)
Total rate bill for 2016-2017
(£)
Total increase from 2015-2016
(£)
Castlereagh 392.47 65.63 326.84 513.79 840.63 36.18
Lisburn 392.47 29.25 363.22 513.79 877.01 24.06
North Down 392.47 7.88 384.59 513.79 898.38 16.93

 

Non-domestic properties

Here’s an example for non-domestic premises with a £15,000 net annual value (NAV) transferred to Belfast in April 2015. 

This example does not take other rates relief which may apply to non-domestic properties and any effect of the non-domestic revaluation.

The discounted district rate, based on 2015 to 16 district rates, would be applied as follows:

Transferring area  District rates bill before relief 
(£)
District rate relief 
(£)
District rate 
(£)
Regional rate 
(£)
Total rate bill for 2016-2017
(£)
Total increase from 2015-2016
(£)
Castlereagh 3,878.84 770.62 3,108.22 4,860.22 7,968.44 394.68
Lisburn 3,878.84 556.46 3,322.38 4,860.22 8,182.60 323.30

 

Do I have to apply for district rates convergence?

No, the discount will be automatically applied to your rates bill.

How can I find out more information?

The Department of Finance and Personnel set out details of the rates convergence scheme that came into effect on 1 April 2015. For more information, please visit the Department of Finance and Personnel website.


Contact us
Land and Property Services Northern Ireland (external organisation)
0300 200 7801
Lanyon Plaza
7 Lanyon Place
Town Parks
Belfast
BT1 3LP