Nationalists and Alliance vote for rates hike in Belfast

The meeting of Belfast City Council took place at City Hall
The meeting of Belfast City Council took place at City Hall

A decision to implement a rates hike in Belfast left the council largely split on unionist-nationalist lines.

Belfast City Council approved a rates increase of 1.48 per cent – the first rise in four years – on Monday night.

The council said that Treasury figures show inflation is forecast at 1.7 per cent, and so therefore the increase “once again represents a cut in real terms”.

Sinn Fein, the Alliance, and most of the SDLP voted in favour of the move, while the DUP and the PUP abstained and the UUP were opposed to any increase.

The council said the effect on ratepayers in Belfast on average will be an increase (from April onwards) of 33p for terraced houses, 50p for three-bedroom semi-detached houses and £1.12 for four-bedroom detached homes.

Businesses will see, on average, a hike of £8.67 per month for office and £8.46 for retail. Failing to agree to any increase would have left the council’s coffers short by about £2.1m, it said.