Millions of families will be hit with ‘sky-high’ council tax bills in April as rates soar to meet the cost of England’s social care crisis.
More than a quarter of districts are expected to set council tax of more than £2,000 for those in the average of Band D houses, analysis has found.
Three years ago there was not a single area in England where the average council tax bill exceeded that level.
Millions of families will be hit with ‘sky-high’ council tax bills in April as rates soar to meet the cost of England’s social care crisis
Rutland (pictured) will see its council tax for average Band D houses raise to £2,125 in 2020/2021
Critics accused town halls of delivering a ‘kick in the teeth’ to residents already hit hard by the pandemic.
Last year, Band D households in 36 districts across the country had to pay bills higher than £2,000 a year, or £4,000 for the most expensive Band H homes.
This year the Government has given councils the ability to put up their bills by up to 5 per cent to meet the increasing costs of social care, while police authorities can add a further £15 to their share of the levy.
Even if local authorities raise charges by just 4 per cent – below the maximum but in line with the rise last year – then a further 59 districts will be asking for more than £2,000.
Three years ago there was not a single area in England where the average council tax bill exceeded that level. Pictured: Dorset, where rates are raising to £2,119
It would mean 95 districts – more than a quarter of the total – would have Band D bills above this level. Harry Fone, from the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘These sky-high bills will feel like a kick in the teeth to taxpayers.
‘The pandemic has destroyed many households’ finances – the last thing they need is an even bigger council tax bill. Local authorities must root out wasteful spending, make savings and stop these huge hikes.’
Last year the highest council tax levels in the country were paid in the tiny county of Rutland, where Band D households had to stump up £2,125. But an increase of 4 per cent would push all councils currently charging between £1,925 and £2,000 above that limit.
Critics accused town halls of delivering a ‘kick in the teeth’ to residents already hit hard by the pandemic. Pictured: Nottingham, where tax is raising to £2,119
For example the bill for people in Burnley in 2020/21 was £1,996. Lancashire County Council has already announced plans to add £56 to Band D bills – meaning Burnley’s charges will certainly pass £2,000.
A cap means no council in London is at risk of having charges above £2,000 in Band D this year, leaving residents in the capital facing lower bills than those in the North despite living in more expensive homes.
Robert Palmer, executive director of Tax Justice UK, said: ‘It’s shocking that a home owner in central London can pay less council tax than a family in the North of England.
This year the Government has given councils the ability to put up their bills by up to 5 per cent. Pictured: Lewes, where tax for Band D homes is £2,111
‘But this will stay hard-wired into the system until politicians act.’
Rishi Sunak is under mounting pressure from Tory backbenchers to scrap council tax and replace it with a property tax. But last week the Treasury said it had no plans to do so.
Up and down the country, councils are deciding how much to increase bills by.
They are allowed to increase rates by 2 per cent for ordinary spending, plus an extra 3 per cent for social care.
Last night, a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: ‘Councils are and have always been responsible for setting council tax levels. We set referendum principles to ensure that local people have the final say over any excessive increases.’