Rates are a ‘vital income source’ needed to protect essential services, the Leader of Douglas Borough Council, Councillor David Christian MBE JP, has said.
Councillor Christian was speaking ahead of the Council issuing its 2020-21 rate demands. He said: ‘These are incredibly anxious times for us all. The Council understands that many households and businesses are experiencing financial difficulties not of their own making but it has a statutory obligation to issue and seek payment of rate demands.
‘Rates ensure a sustainable revenue stream so that the Council can not only continue delivering essential services during the current COVID-19 outbreak but also be in a position to restore other services and amenities once the pandemic is over.
‘Many column inches have been devoted recently to local authorities in the adjacent isle having been empowered by the UK government to grant business rates “holidays”. Let me make it clear: It is not in the Council’s gift to grant such a relaxation; it’s a matter for government and I have already written to the Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK to this effect.
‘Meanwhile, these are unprecedented and unwelcome times and the Council has no wish to add to anyone’s burden of worry. I would, therefore, urge any household or business facing financial hardship from the fallout of COVID-19 to contact our rates section team who will seek to take a sympathetic view of those genuinely struggling to meet their rate demands.
‘Those ratepayers who can pay, though, should pay, ideally as promptly as possible. Rates are a vital income source, relied on to safeguard and deliver essential services for the benefit of the whole community and, at this time more than ever, we truly are all in this together.
‘We want businesses in Douglas to survive as much as they do. This crisis will surely pass and we want to ensure that while it’s not going to be “business as usual” for a long time, if we work through this together we’ll still have a retail centre with prospects for the future.’
For those experiencing financial difficulties the rates section offers a range of payment options including short-term deferrals. The rates section can be contacted preferably by email email@example.com.
Phone lines are being transferred. Please only telephone if your call is essential.
Debit and credit card rate payments can be made online.
Customers are reminded that Douglas Town Hall, including the counter service, is closed until further notice.