Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009

Local rate increase of up to 8.5%

The district rate pays for local services including refuse collection

Ratepayers in County Fermanagh will see the biggest increase in their bills, while those in Castlereagh have had no extra cost imposed.

Fermanagh council has increased its district rate by 8.5%. The second highest rise is in North Down (8.1%), followed by Carrickfergus (7.9%).

Four other councils have kept their rates increase below inflation.

Ratepayers in Craigavon, Down, Lisburn and Magherafelt will see a rates increase of less than 3%.

The district rate covers the costs of local services, including refuse collection, leisure services, economic development and environmental services.

The regional rate, which makes up half the rates bill and funds spending at Stormont, will stay the same.

Rates bills will be issued in April.

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson said the rises were cushioned by an 8m package announced recently by the finance minister.

"For many households this will mean lower district rate increases than would otherwise have been possible," he said.

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