Northern Ireland

Rates bills letters delay costs £40,000

Land and Property Services

Sending out letters to tell ratepayers their bills have been delayed due to the Stormont crisis has cost Land and Property Services more than £40,000.

The figure does not include the postage costs.

The rates process has been hit by Stormont's failure to agree a budget for 2017/2018.

"The approximate cost for stationery, data handling and printing is £43,582 for the issue of 581,102 letters," a Finance Department spokesperson said.

"Land and Property Services is not currently in a position to provide a cost for postage until the mailing has been completed."

Direct debit payments - currently made by about 270,000 people or businesses - will not be taken until after bills have been dispatched.

Normally, annual rates payments are spread over 10 months, from April to January.

A budget for 2017/2018 has not yet been agreed because of the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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