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Explanatory Memorandum to Rates (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004

Background and Policy Objectives

3.The Order aims to make several key changes to the existing non-domestic rating system in Northern Ireland. They are part of a major programme of rating reform initiated by the former Northern Ireland Executive in 2000 with the aim of establishing a modern and fairer rating system in Northern Ireland.

4.The main policy objectives of the Order are:

(i)

to phase out the exemption from rates for industrial property, known as “industrial derating”. The phase out begins on 1 April 2005 and will be completed by 31 March 2011;

(ii)

to introduce the rating of unoccupied non-domestic property, including new buildings; and

(iii)

to provide for hardship relief in exceptional circumstances.

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