The scheme follows the Executive's decision to set aside up to £30m to even out differences that have built up over many years in the level of District Rates between councils that are coming together and also to assist those ratepayers moving to a new council district with higher rates.
The scheme which will run for four years from 1 April 2015 significantly moderates the immediate adverse effect of being a ratepayer in a new larger council area.
The scheme provides an automatic district rate subsidy to those ratepayers who would have otherwise faced a sudden and abnormal increase in rates.
The scheme is directed solely at any increases that are due to the joining together of different 'rate bases' (in other words, the effect of the regrouping of ratepayers within the new council structure).
In year 1 it provides a 80 per cent discount this year for this effect and this will be phased out in stages over four years.
The subsidy will not be worked out on the difference between the 2014/15 district rate and this year’s district rate (2015/16).
This because there are other factors affecting district rates, such as the revaluation of non-domestic property and changes to rates support grant.
Furthermore, it will not interfere with the setting of the various district rates by the new councils, who will set rates according to their expenditure commitments and priorities.