Inflation-busting council tax rise for most homes

The increase is expected to add £100 to typical B and D band council tax bills
The increase is expected to add £100 to typical B and D band council tax bills - SAMUEL FOSTER/ISTOCKPHOTO

The vast majority of English households face inflation-busting council tax rises of 5 per cent in April, a Telegraph analysis has revealed.

At least 30 councils have said they will put bills up by the maximum amount they are allowed to without holding a local referendum – and hardly any have suggested lower increases.

Such rises will add around £100 to typical Band D council tax bills, taking them to an average of more than £2,100.

For those in the most expensive Band H houses, it will mean a rise of some £200 to £4,200 a year.

In addition, a small number of councils which have effectively gone bankrupt have said bills could rise by as much as 10 per cent.

Elliot Keck, the head of campaigns at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s an unhappy new year for local taxpayers who face yet another round of damaging council tax hikes.

“Scores of local authorities have already announced maximum increases, demonstrating that they’re far more interested in imposing a burden on household budgets than sorting out their own, and it seems almost certain most others will follow their lead.

“Councils that have yet to declare tax rates for the upcoming year should seriously reflect on whether it’s fair to ask households to cough up yet again.”

Inflation now stands at 4 per cent and is expected to fall throughout the year.

Town halls decide how much they are going to increase bills in January and February.

The Telegraph looked at top-tier authorities – those which contribute the most to bills – to see which have reported on the council tax rises they would like to see.

Almost all who have made a decision have opted for rises of 5 per cent, indicating that most local authorities will end up doing so.

These include the counties of Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, Worcestershire, Suffolk, Essex, Kent and Dorset.

Five per cent increases are also expected in Sandwell, Cheshire East, Luton, Blackburn with Darwen, Telford and the Wrekin, Islington, Halton, Harrow and Wakefield.

Only a very small number have said their bills will increase by less. Nottinghamshire, for example, is planning for a 3 per cent rise.

A small number of councils will put up bills even higher because they had received government permission to do so after declaring themselves effectively bankrupt.

These include Birmingham, Slough and Thurrock, who will both put up bills by up to 10 per cent in April.

Somerset has also asked for government permission to hike bills by 10 per cent even though it has not yet declared itself bankrupt. A 10 per cent increase is also expected in Woking.

In Wales, there is no maximum limit for council tax increases, Powys and Monmouthshire both plan to put up bills by 7.5 per cent, and Newport by 8.5 per cent.

Shaun Davies, the chairman of the local government association, said: “It is wrong that our residents now face further cuts to services as well as the prospect of council tax rises next year, with councils having the difficult choice about raising bills to bring in desperately needed funding.

“The Government urgently needs to address the growing financial crisis facing councils.”

A number of councils have issued a section 114 order, which means they cannot balance the books and are effectively bankrupt.

People living in some of these areas could face even higher increases, as ministers may allow them to breach the 5 per cent referendum limit.

For example, Labour-run Birmingham has asked permission to put theirs up by up to 10 per cent this year and up to 10 per cent the following year – equating to a 21 per cent hike.

Somerset Council has also revealed it has asked permission to increase bills by 10 per cent, saying it too is at risk of going bankrupt.

The Liberal Democrat-run council said the funding gap is in large part due to an expected increase of £70 million in the cost of adult social care.

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