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UK households to see inflation-busting council tax rises

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05/03/2019
Council tax bills could top £1,800 in some parts of England, rising an average of 4.5% from April this year, according to Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (Cipfa) latest Council Tax Survey

The Institute said this was the second largest rise in a decade. The survey polled 312 councils and found eight out of 10 will impose the maximum increase permitted. Local authorities in England can raise council tax by 2.99%, plus a further 2% if they provide social care, but need to call a referendum for more substantial hikes.

Cipfa said the average band D bill would rise by £71 in London, but £86 in the North East. Although the percentage rise was higher in London, council tax rates are generally lower to start with – the average bill in London is £1476.39, while in North East it sits at £1883.95.

The rises far outstrip inflation, which was 1.8% in January.

The biggest contribution to the increases come from police and fire service funding. Funding for the police makes up about a third of the increase. Councils in England are doubling the police precept on the council tax bill.

The Local Government Association defended the rise saying that cuts had left councils “little choice”. In a report issued yesterday, the Association pointed out that since taking over responsibility for public health in 2013, councils have maintained or improved 80% of the public health outcomes of the nation in spite of a real-terms cut in funding of 49% between 2010/11 and 2017/18.

In 2018-19, bills increased by an average of 5.1%, the largest rise for 10 years. Lewisham in London, Birmingham City Council, North Yorkshire County Council and Kent County Council are among those where council tax will rise by 4.99%.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Councils, not central government, are responsible for managing their own resources. Taxpayers can veto excessive increases via a local referendum.”

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