Heather Jameson 01 March 2018

Council tax set for biggest rise in 14 years, figures show

Council tax set for biggest rise in 14 years, figures show image

Council tax payers face the sharpest rise in their taxes for 14 years, according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy figures (CIPFA). 

As local authorities face rising budget pressures, the household tax is set to rise by an average 5.1% or £80.57 for a Band D property. 

The annual council tax survey highlighted the growing issue of council tax inequality between regions, with taxpayers in the north east paying a band D average of £1,799, compared with £1,194 in London. 

CIPFA’s findings echo the concerns highlighted in the joint survey by the Local Government Information Unit and The MJ last month, which showed one in ten council bosses feared they would not have the money to meet their statutory duties in 2018/19. 

Figures also show Police and Crime Commissioners are pushing to the limits of their allowances, with 90% opting for increases between £11.97 and their maximum allowed increase of £12. 

CIPFA chief executive Rob Whiteman, claimed the figures reflected the ‘enormous financial pressures’ faced by local authorities. 

‘Local government has made by far the biggest efficiencies in the public sector since 2010, but now it feels like crunch time, with the consequences of earlier funding cuts really beginning to bite,’ he said.  

He described the recent financial meltdown in Northamptonshire and its emergency budget as ‘a test case for what the minimum services can be that a council is required to deliver’.

Mr Whiteman added: ‘Looking further across the country, children’s and adult social care are the main focus of resources for many town halls, set this against the phasing out of government grants and widespread use of reserves, it is clearly time for an honest conversation about what services councils should realistically be expected to deliver.’

Of the 276 respondents from English local authorities, just 13 said they would not be raising their taxes, while 71% are making the maximum increase allowed without triggering a referendum. 

In the run up to the London elections, the capital saw the lowest rises of any region with an average rise of 4.1% or £55.86. The highest rises were in the rest of the South East, excluding London at 5.5% or £90.14.

Unitary councils saw the biggest increase by authority type at 5.5% or £89.57. Metropolitan district councils were hit by an 8.3% police precept, driving their bills up from 5% to 5.3%. 

 

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