The Stormont Executive has frozen the regional rate for businesses and the domestic rate while Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has also put in place new legislation which will enable councils to tailor district rates to the needs of their local areas. 

This legislative change will for the first time give councils the option to strike different levels of household and business rates.

The Mall, Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
The Mall, Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Minister Murphy said: “Local councils have played a key role in the pandemic response and are delivering vital services. Recognising the challenges facing councils, the Executive has provided an additional £100 million of funding this year.  The Executive has also made £290 million worth of business rates relief available to over 25,000 businesses across all council areas, which has protected Councils’ rate revenues. 

“I am committed to continuing to work closely with councils and have introduced legislation that provides them with a new option of striking independent household and business district rates. I believe this is a positive step which will give Councils the freedom to set different local rates to achieve their local priorities. I have also amended the legislation to give councils additional time to strike District Rates by deferring the deadline from 15th February until 1st March.”

Ahead of councils striking the District Rates, Minister Murphy added: “I appreciate that setting rates in the midst of a pandemic is extremely difficult. Now more than ever we must be conscious of the challenging circumstances facing individuals and businesses as a result of COVID-19. That is why the Executive has chosen to freeze the regional rate for businesses at last year’s substantially reduced level, and freeze the domestic rate for the second year in a row. I have also committed to providing a further £150 million of rates support to businesses in 2021-2022 which will again protect council rate income.

“I urge councils to use these additional rate setting powers to set District Rates which in the short-term will help individuals and businesses through the tough months ahead and will help stimulate economic growth as we look ahead to our recovery from the pandemic.”

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