Rates bills set to drop on district’s doorsteps

LAND and Property Services (LPS), the Government Agency responsible for collecting rates, will be issuing rates bills to all homes and businesses in the Banbridge District Council area this week.

The bills show the amount due for the billing period 2012/13, any debt carried forward from previous years and any rate relief where applicable. If any of the information on the bill is incorrect or your circumstances have changed, you should contact LPS immediately.

The money LPS raises through collecting rates enables much needed investment in public services both locally and across Northern Ireland.

A LPS spokesperson said: “There are 15,763 ratepayers in Banbridge District Council area and through the payment of their rates they have helped to fund the provision of a number of public services. In fact, in 2010/11 alone, over £20.9 million was collected in the Banbridge area.

“This money has been invested in vital public services such as healthcare, education and roads as well as helping to fund a number of council services including recreational facilities, bin collection, building control, tourism and local events.

“The easiest method of payment is by Direct Debit as it enables you to spread the cost of you rate bills over a 10 month period. LPS offers ratepayers a choice of three collection dates – the 7th, 15th or 28th of the month.

“If you are the owner of an occupied home and prefer to pay your bill in full, a discount of 4% is available if LPS receives payment on or before the discount date of 4 May 2012. Ratepayers must allow a minimum of five working days for payment to reach LPS. This discount is not available to owners of empty homes.”

Other methods of payment available include standing order, telephone and internet banking, cheque, or by using the ‘Rates QuickPay Card’. This is accepted in any Post Office and 800 participating payzone outlets.

Over the last few months, the Executive has passed a number of measures to provide relief to small businesses and rejuvenate town centres. There are also a range of reliefs and entitlements available to domestic ratepayers.

The spokesperson concluded: “The current economic climate is putting real pressure on everyone as we, as individuals, try to juggle the financials strains of everyday living. If you are having trouble paying your rate bill we would encourage you to make contact with us to see if you are entitled to any of the rate reliefs available or to enter into a payment agreement with us.”