Councillors in Mid and East Antrim have achieved below inflation changes to business and domestic rates next year, aimed at minimising the impact on local ratepayers while delivering significant investment and improvements in the community.
From April, the average householder’s bill will increase by 34p per week (or £17.59 per year), and the average business rate by £4.44 per week (or £231.00 per year).
Despite the sustained financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis and rising inflation, Council remains committed to growing the local economy by investing in ambitious and innovative projects to drive and sustain the future of the area in key growth sectors such as renewable energy and digital technologies. This vital work is aimed at improving skills, creating jobs and boosting our economy.
Just this month, for example, a ‘revolutionary’ Hydrogen Training Academy was launched in Mid and East Antrim, which was a first-of-its-kind project enabling the Borough to fully maximise opportunities associated with hydrogen as the emerging leading sustainable energy solution.
Major development opportunities are also moving another step forward with the signing of the Belfast Region City Deal in recent weeks.
The deal unlocks £1bn of transformative co-investment, which will deliver more than 20 highly ambitious projects and programmes, including the re-development of Carrickfergus as a destination town, a major extension of The Gobbins cliff path and the i4C Innovation Centre within the wider St Patrick’s Barracks initiative in Ballymena.
The total investment in Mid and East Antrim from City Deal will be almost £80m, with Council contributing £17.8m.
A range of exciting capital projects will also help our local community to enjoy more opportunities for outdoor play and recreation, with work underway on new and improved play facilities across the Borough, including play parks and multi-use sporting facilities.
Businesses in Mid and East Antrim will also continue to benefit from key training, investment and innovation programmes over the next twelve months, and plans are well advanced to provide further opportunities for growth in several sectors as the post-pandemic recovery phase progresses.
Mayor, Councillor William McCaughey, said: “It is vital we continue as a Council to support the recovery of our society as we move out of the pandemic, and we will remain focused on doing everything within our power to help our businesses and communities to prosper and grow.
“We began our rates process back in August of last year, and have been working round the clock to identify savings and efficiencies.
“That work has helped us ensure that the impact of rates on our citizens is minimised, while at the same time maximising the resource at our disposal to ensure vital support is available and that we can invest as required in our Borough and its infrastructure.”
Chair of Council’s Policy and Resources Committee, Alderman Billy Ashe MBE, said: “We will continue to face challenges, as will all councils in Northern Ireland, during the coming months and years, but we remain steadfast in our commitment to recovery and regeneration across all areas of our society.”
The average domestic rates bill will be £1,002.05 per annum. Based on average capital value, this places homes in Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s rates bill 5th lowest out of Northern Ireland’s 11 council areas.
Likewise, the average business rates bill will be £12,237, ranking the Borough 7th lowest out of all councils, based on average net annual value.
Council’s portion of the rates amounts to 50% of the rates bills received by residents and 53.6% of businesses rates bills in Mid and East Antrim, with the remainder of each set by the Stormont Executive.