THE Department of the Environment (DoE) has announced that all district councils have struck their rates for the 2007/2008 financial year – see them here. The Dept says that since domestic rates “will be completely rebased on capital valuations for the first time this coming year, a like-for-like comparison cannot be made with the previous year’s figures”. In terms of both domestic and business rates, Castlereagh’s are the lowest in Northern Ireland – making me wonder what leisure centres will close or playing fields the council plans to sell off next (or perhaps debt won’t matter so much to its ‘super-council’ partners in 2009…) Craigavon has the highest domestic rates, at just under 34p. In the non-domestic rates, Ballymena’s thrifty businessmen won’t be thrilled to see their rates soar by a massive 10.55%, though Moyle’s remain the highest in real terms at 26.3p. Banbridge’s business rate stays the same as last year.