Northern households pay 'over the odds' on council tax, compared to those in the South

Households in the North of England are paying 'over the odds' on their council tax. ITV News' Amy Welch reports, with words by ITV News producer Will Tullis

Households in the North of England are paying "over the odds" on their council tax by an average of £250 a year compared to those in the South, according to research shared exclusively with ITV News.

Figures from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) show that Northern households are paying - in total - as much as £1.2 billion more than Southern ones, due largely to house price inflation seeing property prices soar in the South, and fall in many parts of the North, since council tax was introduced in 1991.

"If you're in a Band D [council tax] house, it could be worth wildly different amounts in different parts of the country", Henri Murison, chief executive of the NPP, told ITV News.

"They're paying over the odds...and that's just not fair", he added.

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Council tax in England is based on the price a property would have sold for in April 1991.

Many properties in the North have decreased in value since council tax was introduced in 1991.

In the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, some property values have decreased as much as £100,000 since the tax was introduced.

ITV News spoke to residents of two different streets called Hill Road: one in Preston and one in Maida Vale, London.

On London's Hill Road, resident Robert Keith pays Band G council tax - the second-highest band - of £1550 a year, for a property he bought for £1.2mn 17 years ago. Robert estimates his property is likely worth at least £2mn now.

"I know we live in one of the cheapest areas for council tax in the country [Westminster]...and I definitely feel fortunate for that," he told ITV News.

On Preston's Hill Road, Sue Howell told ITV News her Band D council tax is £1572 a year - and that includes a discount for living on her own. Sue bought her house in 1987 for £40,000 - and the property is now worth around £370,000.

"It’s a shock, if you’d asked me how much people pay in London I’d have thought it would be double," she said.

The differences in property values has resulted in what Mr Murison calls a "Northern tax bombshell".

"Some of the poorer councils in the North of England - like Hartlepool and Gateshead have had to put their council tax up more... because they have less valuable houses anyway.

"But they've also been affected the most by their houses staying low in value", Mr Murison added.

'If you're in a Band D house that could be worth wildly different amounts depending on where you are in the country', Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, tells ITV News

These changes in England's property market over the past three decades mean that someone living in a house in Hartlepool worth £150,000 could pay over £200 a year more in council tax than a person in Westminster in a property worth £8 million.

A Band D property in Gateshead will see their council tax bill go up by over £116 this year, compared to a rise of just over £45 for a Band D property in Westminster.

Last Thursday the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee once again urged the government to begin the long-overdue revaluation of properties as part of wider reform to local government financing.

But government says the revaluation process would be too costly.

Areas with the highest council tax rates (Band D properties)

1. Rutland - £2,300

2. Nottingham - £2,294

3. Dorset Council - £2,290

4. Lewes - £2,281

5. Wealden - £2,252

Areas with the lowest council tax rates (Band D properties)

1 . Westminster - £866 2 . Wandsworth - £873 3 . City of London - £1,075

4 . Shetland Islands - £1,206 5. Hammersmith & Fulham - £1,228

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