An explanation of how local government is funded.

Where does our funding come from?

Local Government finance comes from several sources. Local councils obtain their income from:

  • rates
  • government grants
  • fees and charges for certain services
  • loans

District Council rates

Councils are legally required to strike the district rates (the domestic rate and the non-domestic district rate) no later than 15 February each year. The level of rates will be estimated in order to adequately meet the financial needs in the next financial year. The collection of the district rates is carried out by the Land and Property Services (part of the Department of Finance and Personnel). Details of the 2016/2017 District Rates were released on 16 February 2016.


Government grants consist of:

  • the Rates Support Grant, paid by DOE, which provides extra financial resources for those councils whose needs exceed their wealth base
  • the De-rating Grant, paid by DOE, which compensates councils for the loss of rate income due to the statutory de-rating (lowering of rates) of certain property
  • specific grants paid by government departments which help with the financing of certain revenue and capital expenditure

On 20 October 2015, Minister Mark H Durkan announced increased funds for district councils. The extra funding, amounting to a total of £2.6 million, is being made available to councils through increases in the Rates Support Grant and the Emergency Planning Grant.

The increased allocation to the Rates Support Grant amounts to £2.1 million with a further £0.5 million available through the Emergency Planning Grant. The below link indicates the Rates Support Grant increases for each of the seven councils. 

Dereliction funding

Within most councils, there are derelict buildings and sites which require attention. The main aim of the Dereliction Intervention Funding programme is to provide a mechanism whereby councils can obtain funding to enhance and improve the cosmetic appearance of an area, whether it is a city, town, village or neighbourhood.

These improvements are particularly relevant when major events are to be staged or where there is the potential to kick start future economic activity. The programme allows all councils to apply on a competitive basis as and when funding becomes available through departmental monitoring rounds.

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