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Your Rates Explained

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Down District CouncilWhat are rates?

Rates are property based taxes which raise the finance needed to provide public services for you. Ratepayers in Northern Ireland have a combined rate bill consisting of District and Regional rates.

 Who sets the rates?

District rates
are fixed by each District Council and the Regional rate is set by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

District rates vary from District Council to District Council depending on the rateable value totals in each area and the spending policies of individual councils. The District Rate represents between 40% and 50% of a typical rate bill.

The regional and district rates are both collected by the Land & Property Services agency and the product of the District rates is paid over to each council.

The District rate, set by Down District Council, for the financial year commencing on 1 April 2008 until 31 March 2009 = 0.30 pence which results in an increase of 6.68% for domestic properties.

The Regional Rate, set by the Northern Ireland Assembly, for the financial year commencing on 1 April 2008 until 31 March 2009 = 0.3608 pence, an increase of 0%.

This equates to an overall increase of 2.98% in your rates bill


What is the process for determining the District Rate?

Setting the rates is a complicated and detailed process. Each department in the council prepares a very detailed estimate of what they need to spend and what they would like to spend in the coming year. This is reviewed by a special Rates Committee who guide senior officials on the priorities that Council would like to see for the coming year. Once these estimates have been reviewed and trimmed to the satisfaction of the Rates Committee the resulting budget is recommended to the full council who make the final decision. This decision is made on the basis of balancing good services to residents against their additional costs to the ratepayers. 

What is driving the increase in the District Rate?

Key drivers include:

  • The Council’s need to recruit additional staff in Leisure Services, Street Cleansing, Human Resources, IT and a number of other areas within the Council
  • Major capital schemes which have just been completed or are in the process of coming on stream including
    • a major streetscape project in Ardglass
    • a new sports centre at Ballymote
    • the purchase of playing fields in Ballynahinch
    • the purchase of the Buildings in Delamont Country Park
    • a major upgrade of Castle Park in Newcastle
    • major capital works at our landfill site at Drumanakelly
  • The purchase two sites for new household recycling centres in Ballynahinch and Downpatrick
  • Investment in the introduction of CCTV in Downpatrick and Newcastle and taking ownership of system in Ballynahinch


What Services are funded by the District rate?


  • Refuse Collection
  • Refuse Disposal
  • Recycling Services
  • Street Cleansing
  • Parks and Recreation Grounds
  • Tourism, Arts and Events
  • Environmental Health
  • Leisure Facilities
  • Building Control
  • Public Conveniences
  • Economic Development
  • Community Services


What services are funded by the Regional rate?


  • Education
  • Housing
  • Health
  • Personal Social Services
  • Housing
  • Roads and Street Lighting
  • Planning Services
  • Water Services and Sewerage


What will your rates be in 2008/2009?

If you would like to calculate your own rates bill you need to do the following:

Ascertain the Capital Value of your property (as determined by Land and Property Services).
Then multiply that value by 0.006964.
The result of this calculation will equal the amount to be paid by the Domestic Ratepayer in pounds.

For example, if the Capital Value of your property is £120,000 and the total Domestic Rate is 0.6964 pence (Regional Rate 0.3608 pence plus District Rate 0.3356 pence) then a ratepayer would annually pay £835.68. 

To help you calculate your rates, please use the following links below:

Property Valuation Lists (Land & Property Services Northern Ireland)

Rates Calculator (Land & Property Services Northern Ireland)