Rates changes .. rip-off or overdue

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in N. Ireland
31 replies 1.2K views
IvanOpinionIvanOpinion Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in N. Ireland
Most of us seem to have got our new rates valuations and every day on the radio I hear a lot of people complaining (often worked up to into a frenzy by some MP or the media). Many people are complaining hat their rates have jumped up in price and that they are being ripped off.

I somtimes wonder should they not be more gateful that for years they have been getting away with under paying rates compared to some of their neighbours whose houses were valued more recently. Maybe, given the new valuations the councils should go back in time and charge them the 'proper' amount.

Nobody wants to pay more but I put much of the blame down to stupid little action groups and consumers that get a bee-in-their-bonnet about something trivial and campaign to get the rate payer to cover the costs. So we all end up paying or services that the majoirty of people do not really care about.

Don't waste time on other peoples first world problems


  • I lived in England for about 8 years and when I moved home in 2002 it was the first time I lived here as someone who pays the bills and I was astounded at how much less we pay over here in terms of rates compared to council tax.

    Lots of people are complaining that the new rates are based on the value of your house, but is it that different to the old way? Surely the rental value of a house in Stranmillis was higher than the rental value of a house in Ardoyne. So the rates for a house in Stranmillis would have been higher for a house in Stranmillis than a house in Ardoyne. No?

    Now we are going to see rates brought roughly in line with council tax and that's fair enough as far as I'm concerned. We have been subsidised over here for as long as I've been alive and it's about time we started to pay our own way. Unfortunately, this means that we are going to have to pay more towards our services.

    For what it's worth I would have liked to have seen some kind of charge based on your ability to pay rather than house value. Everybody pays a base rate and then you pay extra based on your household income. That would also remove any need for a cap to be put in place.
  • NARNAR Forumite
    4.9K Posts
    My impression always was that we paid a lot less than rest of the UK for our rates. The Government is just bringing us into line with the rest and I suppose it is a shock to the system. But realistically I think the Government just wants us to pay more so they don't have to top up N.Ireland's finances by so much. I doubt there will be much by way of noticable difference for the vast majority of us.
  • marcais wrote:

    Now we are going to see rates brought roughly in line with council tax and that's fair enough as far as I'm concerned.

    But is there not some sort of cap on council tax?
  • ParisienParisien Forumite
    925 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    Guys, when rates were reviewed just 8 years ago, our local MLAs etc agreed a formula that meant we would pay a significantly higher amount of rates than in previous years with the clear understanding that we would NEVER be charged separate water rates, and just 8 years on, we have rates going through the roof AND water rates on the way!!!!

    Shafted or what???????????????

    And we are going to sit back and pay them?....no thanks, just becos the Tony and Gordon twin act decide to act as constable Goodbody to the USAs General Nukem, and spend my money, shooting up half the world.......then I'm NOT paying!!

    Germany..population 80 million, spends 50% less than we do on defence, and France with same population, spends only 1/2 the amount.....do the maths and don't pay.........as Mr Royale said......Democarcy my A**E!!!.....:)
  • what do my rates actually cover .
    My council empty my bin ,they keep 3 swimming pools open (1 on a Sunday )
    . Other than that I dont know what my money is spent on .
  • rjh090384rjh090384 Forumite
    2.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    i hate paying rates its useless. my rates bill has dropped this time but i still feel like im paying for nothing and water tax is gonna crip[ple my finances. yes the council empty ur bin but i had to pay for my bin in the first place. its so dumb grrrr. the nearest swimming pool to me is 6 miles away and i dont drive so have to pay for a bus if i want to go there then pay four pounds to swim or whatever the hell it is now.
    love you lots like jelly tots :o
  • IvanOpinionIvanOpinion Forumite
    21.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    So whats the better solution? Marais mentions 'ability to pay .. but rates already has an element of that built in .. part of the ates is financed by central government that gets its money from income tax (amongst others). there is now an element based on the value of property. The only bit missing is an element based on the number of people at that property ... why should a pensioner living by themselves pay the same as a family of 5 living next door?

    Don't waste time on other peoples first world problems
  • My biggest concern when comparing rates here and elsewhere in the UK is that we really should not be compared! Everything is different over here. For goodness sakes look at things as simple as insurance... so those elsewhere in the UK can go on about us paying lower rates, but we do end up making up for it with extortion elsewhere.
    2 + 2 = 4
    except for the general public when it can mean whatever they want it to.
  • Parisien - what does defence spending have to do with rates? That's like saying don't pay your vehicle excise duty if you don't agree with the war in Iraq.

    As for what your rates does actually cover, it's all explained here:

    Rates Information

    As for other stuff being dearer here, that's irrelevant as far as the rates are concerned. The stuff that the rates covers costs a comparable amount here as it does in the rest of the UK, so our contribution towards it should be comparable to the rest of the UK.

    If your insurance costs more then that's an issue you need to address with the insurance companies. The gov't can't reduce the rates because private companies charge us over the odds for their goods.
  • But is there not some sort of cap on council tax?

    There is, but I disagree with caps, but you also need a fairer system in order to make sure that only those who can afford it are paying more than whre the cap was set.

    If you assume that the council sets an amount that they need to raise through council tax/rates, then by saying "Nobody shall pay above £x" , what you are effectively doing is passing the burden of those who would pay above the cap onto those who are below the cap.

    So, say for example they set the cap at £2,000. This means that someone who should, according to the formula, be paying £5,000 will only pay £2,000. But that £3,000 they are not paying has to come from somewhere, so it's passed onto those whose bill would come in below the cap.

    So now 30 households whose bill should be £1000 will have their bill raised to £1100, as the council needs someone to make up the shortfall from people who should be paying more than the cap.

    Clear as mud, yes?

    Of course this is all dependent on a system where each household is judged on its ability to pay - which includes how many adults are in the household, as more adults in the household means more money coming into the household.
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