Is your local authority raising council tax and by how much?

Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks on another financial blow to households as council tax bills look set to soar

By Multimedia Producer Suzanne Elliott

Millions of households in England are facing a 5% increase in their council tax from April as local authorities seek to plug funding gaps, new research suggests.

Three-quarters of English councils with social care duties are planning a 4.99% hike - the maximum allowed without a local vote under the rules set out in last year's Autumn Statement - according to analysis carried out by the County Councils Network (CCN).

The increase equates to an extra £100 on the council tax bill for an average Band D property.

Croydon council is seeking to hike council tax by as much as 15% - that is an extra £4.50 a week for the average property - while Thurrock and Slough have set out a 10% rise. Residents in these three local authorities are facing even higher price rises as these councils have special permission to increase tax above 5% after effectively declaring bankruptcy.

The data suggests those in the South-West of England face the biggest average percentage rise.

The rise in council tax will be another burden on households already facing increasing cost of living pressures, but council leaders say they have "little choice" but to raise tax in order to protect services.

Will your local authority be among those hiking its council tax and how much will it rise by?

And why are councils hiking council tax at a time when so many households are struggling?

Why is my council tax rising?

Local authorities with social care duties are able to raise council tax by up to 5% from April without consulting local residents following an announcement at November's Autumn Statement.

Currently, authorities must hold local referendums if they want to increase council tax by more than 3%, but Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced this was being raised to 5%.

The Office for Budget Responsibility says this will raise £3.3 billion in 2026/27, rising to £4.8 billion in 2027/28.

Your council tax pays for key services in your area, including schools, social work, libraries, refuse collection, environmental health, police and fire and rescue.

But councils say even with this increased rise, they will still struggle to balance the books.

Hampshire County Council, which is planning to increase by the full amount, said even with the hike it would still need to dip into its reserves to fill a financial deficit next year.

The Labour vice-chair of CCN, and leader of Cheshire East Council, Sam Corcoran, said many local authorities were "reluctantly opting for maximum rises".

“With councils facing multi-million funding deficits next year, the alternative to council tax rises would be drastic cuts to frontline services at a time when people at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis need us to be there for them. With the financial situation for councils looking extremely tough for the next few years, we will be calling on the Chancellor for further help in the March Budget," he said.

Will my local authority be raising council tax?

Published budget plans for 114 of the 152 councils in England with responsibility for social care analysed by the CCN found 113 are planning to increase council tax, with 84 proposing a 5% rise from April.

Just one - Central Bedfordshire - is keeping tax at its current rate.

The remaining 38 councils have yet to set out their plans.

How much council tax could I be paying from April?

As council tax rates for each band vary depending on location, the middle band - Band D - is usually used to calculate the average cost of council tax.

The average council tax for a Band D property in England for 2022/23 was £1,966.

A 5% rise would add £98 a year to bills for an average property from April, although this figure will vary depending on where you live.

In England, council tax bands A to C account for over half of all dwellings, according to the government.

With a 5% hike, this would rise to £1,567.50 - an annual increase of £74.50.

Council tax raises different amounts depending on where you are in the country.

Here's the full list of councils planning to increase council tax this April and by how much: (figures in %)

  • Barking and Dagenham 4.99

  • Barnsley 3.9

  • Bath and North-East Somerset 4.99

  • Bedford 2.9

  • Birmingham 4.99

  • Blackburn 4.99

  • Blackpool 4.99

  • Bolton 3.99

  • Bournemouth 4.99

  • Bradford 4.99

  • Brent 2.99

  • Brighton and Hove 4.99

  • Bristol 4.99

  • Bucks 4.99

  • Cambridgeshire 4.99

  • Cheshire East 4.99

  • Cheshire West 4.99

  • Cornwall 4.99

  • Coventry 4.99

  • Croydon 15

  • Cumberland Council 4.99

  • Darlington 4.99

  • Derbyshire 3.75

  • Doncaster 3.99

  • Dorset 3.99

  • Dudley 4.99

  • Durham 4.99

  • East Riding 4.99

  • East Sussex 4.99

  • Enfield 4.99

  • Essex 3.5

  • Gloucestershire 4.99

  • Greenwich 4.99

  • Halton 4.99

  • Hammersmith & Fulham 4.99

  • Hampshire 4.99

  • Haringey 2.99

  • Harrow 4.99

  • Hartlepool 4.9

  • Havering 4.99

  • Herefordshire 4.99

  • Hertfordshire 4.99

  • Hillingdon 4.99

  • Hull 4.99

  • Isle of Wight 4.99

  • Islington 4.99

  • Kent 4.95

  • Kingston Upon Thames 4.99

  • Lancashire 3.99

  • Leeds 4.99

  • Leicestershire 4.99

  • Lincolnshire 4.99

  • Luton 4.99

  • Manchester 4.99

  • Medway 4.99

  • Merton 4.99

  • Middlesbrough 3.99

  • Milton Keynes 4.99

  • Newcastle 2.99

  • Newham 4.99

  • Norfolk 4.99

  • North East Lincolnshire 4.98

  • North Lincolnshire 4.99

  • North Somerset 4.99

  • North Tyneside 4.99

  • North Yorkshire 4.99

  • North Northamptonshire 4.99

  • Northumberland 4.99

  • Nottingham 4.99

  • Nottinghamshire 4.84

  • Oldham 3.99

  • Oxfordshire 4.99

  • Peterborough 4.99

  • Plymouth 4.99

  • Redbridge 4.99

  • Redcar and Cleveland 3.99

  • Rochdale 2.99

  • Rotherham 4

  • Rutland 4.99

  • Salford 4.99

  • Shropshire 4.99

  • Slough 10

  • Solihull 4.99

  • Somerset 4.99

  • South Tyneside 4.95

  • Southend 4.99

  • Southwark 4.99

  • Staffordshire 4.99

  • Stockport 3.99

  • Stockton-on-Tees 4.9

  • Stoke 4.99

  • Suffolk 3.99

  • Sunderland 2.99

  • Surrey 2.99

  • Swindon 4.99

  • Telford and Wrekin 2

  • Thurrock 10

  • Torbay 4.99

  • Tower Hamlets 2

  • Trafford 4.99

  • Wakefield 4.99

  • Walsall 2.99

  • Warwickshire 3.94

  • West Berkshire 4.99

  • West Northamptonshire 4.99

  • West Sussex 4.99

  • Westminster 2

  • Wiltshire 4.99

  • Windsor and Maidenhead 4.99

  • Wirral 4.99

  • Wokingham 4.99

  • Worcestershire 4.94

  • York 4.99

How does council tax work?

The amount of council tax you pay is decided by the local authority the property falls under.

If you live in England or Scotland you will fit into one of eight council tax bandings.

The bands are based on a property's rateable value - the more expensive the property, the higher the council tax band.

Wales has nine bands where the same system is applied to determine the banding a property falls under.

How much you pay will depend on two factors - the area you live in and the council tax banding of your property.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Credit: PA / House of Commons

What do the government say?

The government said councils should consider money pressure on residents.

It said the amount local authorities will be able to spend next year was set to rise by £5.1bn, representing an average 9% rise for local authorities.

The Local Government Association, which represents more than 350 councils in England and Wales, says this figure assumes all councils will raise council tax by the maximum amount.

It has also expressed concern that a "significant proportion" of the increase is made up of one-off grants, ring-fenced funding, and some re-allocation of existing funding.

The Levelling Up Department, which oversees council funding in England, said its increases to council funding would also see deprived areas getting more per household.

"Our approach to council tax balances the need to deliver vital services while protecting residents from excessive increases," a spokesperson added.

"We expect local authorities to take into consideration the challenges many households are facing."

Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, which represents more than 350 councils across England and Wales, said: “We have been clear that council tax has never been the solution to meeting the long-term pressures facing services - particularly high-demand services like adult social care, child protection and homelessness prevention. It also raises different amounts of money in different parts of the country unrelated to need and adds to the financial burden facing households.

“This is the fifth one-year settlement in a row for councils, which continues to hamper financial planning and their financial sustainability and many councils are still grappling with significant challenges when setting their budgets and trying to protect services from cutbacks due to the deep underlying and existing pressures they face. 

"Councils want to work with government on a long-term funding plan which ensures they have adequate resources, certainty and freedoms to deliver local services for our communities.“

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