Published On: Mon, Mar 11th, 2024

Council tax alert with increases as high as £178 set to hit Britons in just weeks | Personal Finance | Finance

Three in four councils are set to turn the screw on residents with a Council Tax rise of more than £100 a year from April 1.

The vast majority will be pushing up the figure by 4.99 percent, however hundreds of thousands of struggling families and pensioners face hikes of around 10 percent.

The average Council Tax for a Band D property will rise by £103 to £2,168, which equates to just over £180 a month.

However, there four English councils which are effectively bankrupt where bigger increases – coupled with serious cuts to services – are on the cards both this year and in 2025.

In Birmingham, for example, Council Tax is set to rise by around 10 percent in both April and again next year.

This means the figure for a Band D property, including Council Tax and levies for the fire and police will rise by £178 from April 1 to £2,083 – and another £200 next year.

The other three councils in England with punishing increases due to come into effect are Slough, Thurrock and Woking.

The increase in Slough will be 8.5 percent, which takes the figure for Band D up £172 to £2,023.42.

Residents of Thurrock will see a 7.99 percent rise with the result a Band D property Council Tax bill will go up £126.45 a year to £1,711.62 a year.

And the figure for residents in Woking will be going up by £122.83 to £2,371.60. This is made up of £289.43 from the borough council, £1,758.60 to Surrey County Council and £323.57 for police and crime.

Big increases in Wales are on the cards, where the Labour administration has not imposed any caps on increases.

These include a rise of 12.5 percent in Pembrokeshire and 9.9 percent in Wrexham. Increases of more than nine per cent are also planned in Bridgend, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Ise of Anglesey.

Scotland is freezing council tax – although monthly bills will still rise as a result of increases to water bills north of the border.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) confirmed in February that English local authorities will be able to increase the levy by up to five percent for the 2024/25 financial year.

This is made up of a three percent rise for core council tax, plus another two percent if the council has adult social care responsibilities.

The government is giving councils across England a £600 million support package to help them deliver key services, such as social care. However, the Local Government Association (LGA) argues this is not enough.

It insists that Council Tax hikes are vital to help bridge a £4 billion funding gap over the next two years.

The LGA resources board chair, Councillor Pete Marland, said: “Councils have led the way at finding ways to save money and reduce costs and this work will continue, but they will still need to raise Council Tax this year and many will need to make further savings to local services in order to plug remaining funding gaps.”

Concerns were confirmed by the County Councils Network, which suggested many other councils are in dire financial trouble.

These include Hampshire County Council with a £57.7m funding deficit; Durham with a deficit of £10.2m; and Cheshire East Council with a figure of £25.4m.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Vice-Chairman of the County Councils Network and Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “With inflation reaching levels not seen for over 40 years and with demand-led pressures for care services showing no sign of abating, local authority leaders are setting their budgets in the most difficult circumstances in decades.

“We all recognise the cost-of-living crisis is impacting on every household in the country and disproportionally on low incomes, but we have little choice but to propose council tax rises again next year, with many local authorities 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.”

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