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Council tax bills have risen consistently every year since 2012, though today’s findings from CIPFA’s annual Council Tax Survey indicate a second consecutive year with a lower increase than the year before.
Variation in the percentage increase on 2019/20 between regions is not as stark as in previous years, with a difference of 0.8 percentage points between the highest increases (3.9%) in outer London, the North West and the South West, and the lowest (3.1%) in the East Midlands.
However, there remains a gap in monetary terms between the total bill of a band D property in inner London, at £1,304.55, and those of band D properties in the North East at £1,958.24, in part due to regional variation in the value of homes.
Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO, said:
“Today’s findings illustrate that local authorities across the country are putting up their council tax to fight the ongoing legacy of austerity.
“The simple fact is that council tax, along with business rates and central government grant, is no longer enough to fund increased demand on vital public services, including social care. These funding mechanisms remain in an unsustainable position for the long term.
“We will be looking to next week’s Budget, and the comprehensive spending review that must follow, for bold decisions that re-align the ability of local authorities to raise revenue in line with demand for services in their area.”
For further information please contact the CIPFA press office on 020 7543 5737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
There are regional differences in the level of Band D council tax which partly reflect the different values of the housing stock in different parts of the country. In inner London, the average band D council tax is £1,303 but £1,958 in the North East.
Band D properties are used as the typical value as they act as the baseline figure from which other bands are calculated.
The data shows annual council tax for a band D property. In different areas, there will be a different distribution of housing stock in different bands. The figures are for an average band D property, not an average householder.
CIPFA’s Council Tax Survey was based on 321 responses to questionnaires sent to authorities in England and Wales – a 73% response rate.
Of the 306 respondents from England, 304 will be increasing their council tax.
Excluding the 2% maximum allowable increase for adult social care, across all English authorities, 57% are taking their maximum allowable increase of 1.99% or £5 without triggering a referendum. 11% of responding authorities will either freeze or increase their council tax below the maximum level.
The typical council bill in Wales is set to increase by 4.2%, or £66.72.
Council tax referendum rules
Councils in England are able to increase tax rates by up to the legal threshold of 2% for the general local authority budget.
Local authorities with responsibility for adult social care are able to raise council tax a further 2% which must go to social care.
Out of our sample only one authority (Warwick District Council, proposed 34.16% increase) has to hold a referendum.
Data England and Wales
Data England and Wales 2
Data by BBC Region