Households to face small rise in rates

ABC Council chief executive Roger Wilson.
ABC Council chief executive Roger Wilson.

The new ABC Council is to strike its first ever rate on Thursday night, with Craigavon ratepayers expected to see just a small increase in their annual bill.

The Portadown Times understands that the domestic rates rate across Craigavon, Armagh and Banbridge will be struck at 1.78 per cent, an average increase per household of around 14p a week.

The change may have more implications for the former Armagh and Banbridge areas.

Armagh ratepayers will see their rates bill decrease while Banbridge will see a more notable increase. There generally will be minimal difference to bills in Craigavon.

Business owners will also be anxiously awaiting the outcome of the special meeting of the ABC Council in Banbridge.

It is understood councillors want to strike the non-domestic rate at the same figure but there remains a degree of uncertainty as to how it will affect individual businesses.

The Department of Finance undertook a province-wide revaluation for business which was released earlier this year.

The revaluation will see winners and losers in Portadown. It is thought the majority of businesses in the town centre will see their rates bills falling, although some will be hit by an increase.

In Portadown’s High Street Mall the rateable values for shopping units has fallen by 29 per cent.

Businesses located in out of town shopping centres like Rushmere will not fare as well because many units in such centres have see their rateable value increase.

Upper Bann MP David Simpson said, “Generally across the board the revaluation by the department has resulted in a drop in rates within Portadown town centre which is a welcome move. However, there are some which buck this trend and I personally will be working with these individuals to appeal their increased value.”

Councillor Jim Speers, leader of the UUP group on the new council, said they did not want to see local businesses impacted on by rates raises.

Darryn Causby, leader of the DUP group, said his party fought to keep the rate as “low as possible”.