In the context of the publication of the consultation document on the draft Budget 2008-11, Peter Robinson announced on 25 October 2007 his intention to freeze the domestic regional rate over the budget period. This proposal reflects the Executive’s desire to move away from the above average increases experienced in recent years and concentrate on tackling inefficiencies within Government rather than placing additional burdens on ratepayers.
It also takes account of the Executive’s decisions on water charging announced on 22 October 2007 and ensures that ratepayers will see the benefit of the contribution they already make to the cost of water through the regional rate of £160 on average as the new arrangements for water charging are being phased in from April 2009/10.
It is also proposed to reduce the average increase in the non-domestic regional rate to 2.7% a year over the next three years in line with the forecasted level of inflation over that period.
This recognises the more modest increases faced by this sector over the last few years but also takes account of the fact that it will also be facing increased water costs over the next few years. Following approval of the budget, the legislation giving effect to the regional rates for 2008/2009 was approved in the Assembly on 3 March 2008. From April 2008, the regional rate, expressed in terms of pence per pound will, for domestic properties, be 0.3608 pence (in 2007/2008 it was the same level). The non-domestic rate will be 29.89 pence (in 2007/2008 it was 29.10 pence). Full details can be found in the press release.