Council tax increases in England to be second highest in ten years


CIPFA, The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, has revealed average Band D households in England are set to face an increase of £75.60, or 4.5%, in their council tax bill for 2019/20.

This is the second highest increase of council tax in the last 10 years, surpassed only by last year’s rise of £80.92, or 5.1%. The increase in 2019/20 masks significant amounts of variation between the different regions and local authority types in England.

While the average households in Greater London are to see the highest increase in council tax compared to other authority types, at 5.1%, there remains a substantial gap in cash terms between their total bill, at £1,476.39, and those of households in the North East at £1,883.95.

Local police and crime commissioners across England appear to be unanimously doubling the police precept on the council tax bill, which is climbing by more than 12.6% in England, following
Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire’s announcement last year.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO, said:

“The extent of the rises across the country are a reflection of the incredible fiscal pressure faced by local authorities and police. Without a bolder vision from government, the future of these services is increasingly being put at risk.

“Local authorities have faced the most significant cuts to spending over the last ten years, and despite the government’s announcement that austerity is ending, for local authorities this is clearly not the case. Long term they remain in an unsustainable position.

“Ministers need to make radical decisions to secure the future of public services. Council tax is regressive, and increasingly divorced from the reality of property values. They will not be sufficient to meet rising demand for services such as adult, and increasingly, children’s social care.”


For further information please contact the CIPFA press office on 020 7543 5703 or email  

Notes to editors

CIPFA’s Council Tax Survey was based on 328 responses to questionnaires sent to authorities in England and Wales – a 74% response rate (data on Wales will be released later this week).

Of the 312 respondents from England, 301 will be increasing their council tax.

Excluding the 3% maximum allowable increase for adult social care, across all English authorities, 80% are taking their maximum allowable increase of 2.99% without triggering a referendum.

Council tax referendum rules

Councils in England are able to increase tax rates by up to the legal threshold of 2.99% for the general local authority budget.

Northamptonshire County Council is an exception, able to raise its council tax a further 2% following the local government finance settlement, announced in January.

Local authorities with responsibility for adult social care are able to raise council tax a further 2%. Money raised must go to social care, and councils can only do this if they have not increased the social care precept by a total of 6% in the previous two years.

Local police and crime commissioners in England and Wales are able to double the policing precept on the council tax bill from £12 a year to £24.


CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money. 

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