England set for highest council tax increase in a decade

06-03-2017

Households across England are facing an average increase in council tax of 4%, which is the highest increase since 2007/8, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) reveals.

As part of its annual council tax survey, which this year had responses from over two thirds of councils across England, CIPFA found that this leap will see the average band D equivalent bill rising £60.94 to £1,590.53.  

The increase comes a few months after the Department of Communities and Local Government allowed local government in England to front load the increase in adult social care precepts by 3%, rather than the 2% previously allowed, to help ease the growing stresses in the system – this increase is in addition to the 1.99% annual increase allowed for general, non-ring-fenced council tax. Of those authorities with social care responsibilities, 95% will be setting the rate at at least 2%, while 70% will be taking full advantage of the new front loading flexibility by increasing by the maximum amount of 3%. Total adult social care precept income for England in 2017/18 is estimated to be £554m, which is 89% out of a total possible amount of £624m.

The 4% average increase covers all council tiers, and includes contributions for police, fire, the Greater London Authority, and those without social care responsibilities. For English counties, unitaries, metropolitan districts and London boroughs, all of which are entitled to the additional social care precept, the increases are 4.3%, 4.8%, 4.9% and 3.9% respectively.

Sean Nolan, Director for Local Government at CIPFA said: “The fact that we are facing the single highest council tax increase in a decade is all the more remarkable because it comes after six years (2010/11 to 2015/16) of very low increases, actively encouraged by Government who until last year had offered a council tax freeze grant if councils did not raise theirs at all. The subsequent removal of this freeze grant shows a clear shift in public policy in general, but also a reflection of the strains being caused by social care pressures. We can expect these levels of increase to continue at least for next year.

“To find that over two thirds of those councils with adult social care responsibilities will opt for the full 3% is another clear reminder of the current funding challenges.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact David Stone on T: 020 7543 5703 / T: 07833 091 303 or E: david.stone@cipfa.org

Notes to Editors:

 

  • CIPFA’s council tax survey was based on 320 responses to questionnaires sent to 446 authorities in England and Wales - a 72% response rate
  • Council tax referendum rules:
    • English authorities can raise local council tax by up to 1.99% on last year without the need for a referendum
  • Exceptions include:
    • Authorities with adult social care responsibilities can raise an additional 3% without the need for a referendum via the adult social care precept – however, councils can increase council tax by no more than 6% over three years, meaning councils that take the full amount in 2017/18, will only be allowed to implement a small amount in 2018/19 and 2019/20
    • The social care precept of up to 3% is additional to existing social care spend in local authorities
    • Non-Metropolitan Districts can raise by up to £5 (even if this is above 2%) without the need for a referendum
    • The ten police authorities with the lowest Average Band D are allowed to increase by up to £5 (even if this is greater than 2%), without the need for a referendum
  • The Greater London Authority (GLA) is the strategic authority for London and supports the Mayor and the London Assembly. The GLA’s five functional bodies:
    • The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime
    • The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority
    • Transport for London
    • The London Legacy Development Corporation
    • The new Old Oak Common and Park Royal Development Corporation.