Council tax could surge by 6%

Council tax could surge by 6% as costs of social care and levelling up start to kick in

  • Council tax rises of up to 6% next year will affect millions of families across UK
  • Town halls can put up the levy by 3 per cent in April, partly to pay for social care
  • This could see average Band D council tax bills soar by more than £100 in a year

Millions face catastrophic council tax rises of up to 6 per cent next year because of small print which has only just come to light.

Rishi Sunak announced in his Budget that town halls will be able to put up the levy by 3 per cent in April, partly to pay for social care.

But it has now emerged that if local authorities did not use their full ability to increase council tax this year, they will be able to carry this entitlement over to next year.

It means some town halls – believed to be around 36 – will be able to add up to 3 per cent on top of the 3 per cent announced by the Chancellor. 

Millions face catastrophic council tax rises of up to 6 per cent next year because of small print which has only just come to light (file photo)

Rishi Sunak announced in his Budget that town halls will be able to put up the levy by 3 per cent in April, partly to pay for social care

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has also announced that police authorities will be able to increase their share of council tax bills by £10, and some fire brigades by £5.

All of this could see average Band D council tax bills soar by more than £100 in a year – with many areas breaching £2,000 for the first time. 

The rises come on top of the 1.25 percentage point rise in National Insurance to pay for the NHS and social care, which will come into force in April.

Last night Harry Fone, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group, said: ‘Another inflation-busting council tax hike will decimate many households’ finances…

‘Town hall bosses must get a grip, ramp up efficiency and keep tax rises to an absolute minimum.’

The current inflation rate is 5.1 per cent. In April this year, the average Band D council tax bill in England was £1,898 – up £81 on 2020. 

In his Budget, Mr Sunak said town halls would be able to add 2 per cent next year without the need to hold a local referendum, plus another 1 per cent for social care. If all areas do this, it could see half of districts imposing council tax bills of £2,000 a year.

A document published by Michael Gove outlined the Government’s proposed ‘council tax referendum principles’

But it has now emerged that the increases could be even higher: Four, five or even 6 per cent in some areas. 

A document published by Mr Gove outlined the Government’s proposed ‘council tax referendum principles’ – the rules by which town halls can avoid having to hold a local vote if they put up bills too high.

As well as the 3 per cent announced in the Budget, it said there would be an ‘ability to add any unused parts of the 3 per cent adult social care precept flexibility available in 2021/22’. 

It is believed there are four councils which could carry 3 per cent from last year, and 32 which could use 2 per cent or less.

Police and crime commissioners will also be able to add £10, while the eight lowest-charging fire authorities will be able to add £5.

The Department for Levelling Up said it has given an additional £3.5billion to help councils. A spokesman added: ‘Local people will continue to have the final say on council tax with the ability to veto excessive rises.’

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