Revaluation Of Commercial Properties Will Help To Rebalance Business Rates Says Hamilton

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA today announced the online release of draft rateable values of business properties.

Department of Finance and Personnel’s Land & Property Services (LPS) has completed the revaluation of all 73,000 non-domestic properties using up-to-date market evidence, to help re-distribute the rating burden in a fairer way.

dn_screenThe new values will be used to calculate business rate bills from 1 April 2015. Business rates are charged on most non-domestic premises including shops, offices, warehouses, factories, hotels and pubs as well as utilities such as gas, electricity and wind farms. LPS is releasing the figures early so that business ratepayers can see the new valuations well before rates are struck, with final values published in February, and business rate bills issued in April.

The draft rateable values are an assessment of the annual rental value of individual properties as at April 2013 and the full schedule can now be viewed online at:

[caption id="attachment_41113" align="alignleft" width="220"]Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA. Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA.[/caption]

Simon Hamilton said: “I welcome the timely release of these draft rateable values. While actual rate bills can’t be worked out until the Northern Ireland Executive and the district councils set their rate poundages in February 2015, this release of draft rateable values gives business ratepayers early information with the opportunity to review the draft values now for their individual properties.”

“Rates provide funding for essential regional services such as health and education as well as district council services like cemeteries, parks and leisure facilities. The revaluation means that from next year, ratepayers will contribute to the funding of services relative to their 2013 rental value, instead of 2001 values as at present.”

The results show modest growth in the total value of the new Valuation List when compared to the current List, which is based on 2001 values. An analysis of the current full set of 73,000 new values indicates that overall growth is in the region of 8%.

The Minister added: “This growth of course does not translate into a corresponding overall increase in rate bills, revaluations are revenue neutral. The Executive and new councils will not raise any more money because of the revaluation. However, the amount raised will be redistributed between non-domestic ratepayers on a fairer basis using modern rental values.”

Some preliminary outcomes of the revaluation include:

*  many high street shops and some shopping centres will see a decrease in rateable values of 25% with some as much as 50%; *  many of the edge of town retail parks will see an increase in value of at least 18%, some substantially more; *  the largest food stores show an increase in rateable value of 40%; *  the office sector shows little change, although with some increases outside of Belfast; *  the pub trade will see considerable variation in values with notable decreases in some pubs and significant increases in some pubs in busy urban areas; and *  major infrastructure investment, over the last 13 years, will be reflected in the rise in rateable values for utilities such as gas, wind farms and power distribution.

Simon Hamilton concluded: “The valuation results are very much as expected. There has been growth in the value of some sectors since 2001, so those business ratepayers are likely to see an increase in their rate bill; some rateable values are substantially lower and this will probably be translated into lower rate bills.

“Many won’t notice any real difference. Initial analysis shows that some 49% of properties show a change in value less than the overall average Northern Ireland growth factor of 8%. This means that if these values had been used in 2014/15 those ratepayers would have seen a decrease in their rate bill.”

As well as showing the individual draft values the website provides important further information. If ratepayers are unable to access the required information on-line, they may also contact LPS at 0300 200 7801.

The Minister also advised that the issue of Small Business Rate Relief, following the revaluation, is under active consideration, informed by an evaluation of the effectiveness of the current scheme recently completed by the NI Centre for Economic Policy at the Ulster University. A further announcement will be made in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the 2015/16 Draft Budget proposes the continuation of a Small Business Rates Relief scheme offering £20million of support next year to thousands of Northern Ireland’s small businesses.

Entitlement to other reliefs is unaffected by the revaluation. Domestic ratepayers are also unaffected.


The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has strongly welcomed the outline Rates Revaluation figures as ‘good news for independent retailers and town centres. NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “We welcome the outcome of the Rates Revaluation and are particularly pleased that Minister Hamilton has addressed the unfair imbalance of large out of town multiple retailers paying less rates per sq foot that many of our members in town centres. “For far too long multiple supermarkets have not been paying their way with regards to Rates and this Revaluation ensures that we now have a level playing field for out of town and town centres. “This is a win-win for our independent retailers and town centres. “Many of our members will be paying 25-50% less in their rates bills which is a big boost given the recent difficult economic times.”