RATES CRISIS: NEARLY 100,000 PROPERTIES IN DEBT

Figures showcasing the effect austerity, wage freezes and cuts to public service have on households and business is to be found everywhere recently.  However, figures BtP can reveal today show the shocking umber of properties – both domestic and business, that are behind with their rates and have been issued final demands for payment.

There is a total of 99,652 across NI in debt to Land and Property Services according to the latest figures released to us.  58,850 of those have received final notices for payment.

In Belfast, a whopping 21,564 properties are behind with their rates payments in 2013-14, the vast majority of these, 17,283 are domestic households.  Current figures suggest the situation is not much better.  21,146 properties are in debt to Land and Property Services in the Belfast City Council area, 16,791 of these being domestic properties.

What is more worrying, is the number of these properties that have been in debt for so long that final notices for payment have been issued.  The data, up to 31st March 2015, the last date of the rates payable year, show that a stunning 12,314 properties in Belfast are subject to a final notice.  Of these, a huge 9,600 are domestic properties – over half of those owing rates – a clear indication that people are struggling to pay their rates bills.

When we see that there has been a decrease of 674 across Belfast of total properties subject to a final payment notice since the previous year, there is not much improvement.

The top five worst affected areas:

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Second to Belfast on the list is the Newry and Mourne area, with the latest figures revealing 7,256 properties, 6,334 of which are domestic, behind on their rates.  4,454 properties are subject to final notices, only 620 of those being businesses.

The old Derry City Council area comes a close third, with 6,550 properties behind with their bills, 5,519 of these domestic properties.  Interestingly however, Derry is above Newry when we look at business premises behind with their rates, 1,031 of which are behind compared to Newry’s 922.

This trend continues when we look at properties that have been been issued final notices.  Derry is the second worst area for businesses that have been sent red letters.  643 to Newry’s 620.  There are 3,919 properties in total way behind in their payments.

Austerity is biting hard.  Another BtP exclusive.

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