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Councillors keep rates rise below rate of inflation

Date: 04 Feb 2019

Members of Belfast City Council tonight (Monday) agreed to a 1.98% increase in the district rate for 2019/20.

Members of Belfast City Council tonight (Monday) agreed to a 1.98% increase in the district rate for 2019/20.  

This is lower than the rate of inflation and has been achieved by Council making ongoing efficiencies of £30m.

In real terms, the rates increase will mean domestic ratepayers in Belfast paying, on average, an extra 62 pence per month. Offices and retail will pay, on average, an extra £11.51 per month – around £138.10 per year.

Councillor Peter Johnston, chair of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, said: “We have worked hard to drive efficiencies across Council to ensure that any increase in the rates is kept to a minimum, and the fact that we are keeping the increase below 2% for the second consecutive year reflects that commitment.

“We have delivered this while also making sure we continue to drive the city forward to be a leading contender for more investment and tourism on a global stage.

“We also recently secured a city deal for the region, worth £850m, which has provided us with an exciting opportunity to create up to 20,000 new and better jobs, alongside new technology, infrastructure and research and development for business growth. 

“This will, in turn, help us realise our ambitions and aims contained within the Belfast Agenda – our 20-year plan for the city and its people.”

Councillor Johnston added: “As we approach a new Council term, it’s timely to reflect on what has been achieved over the last five years. Overall, since the last Local Government elections we have managed to keep the burden on the public purse below average inflation (1.46%) with the average rates increase during this Council term being 1.07%.

“This has been achieved by delivering efficiencies of more than £30m whilst at the same time bringing in residents and businesses from Lisburn and Castlereagh Council, and investing more than £36m in community facilities and regeneration schemes.

“We have also invested in a number of major capital build projects across the city, including the extension of the Waterfront Hall to transform it into a state-of-the-art international conference centre; completed our £15m pitches strategy; and our £105m Leisure Transformation Programme is well underway to deliver five new leisure centres for the city.”

Council’s portion of the rates amounts to 44% of the rates bill received by residents and businesses. The remaining portion of the rates relates to Stormont departments, and that portion is agreed separately by the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

A special pull-out explaining more on what your rates pay for will be included in the next edition of City Matters, Council’s free residents’ magazine, which will be delivered to every home in Belfast during the first week in March.

More info is also available via the Council’s website

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