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Cipfa: Council tax to rise by 4.5% next year

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Council tax in England is set to go up by an average of 4.5% in 2019-20, the second highest increase in the past 10 years, according to analysis by the Chartered Institute of Public finance & Accountancy.

Only last year’s rise of 5.1% has surpassed the increase planned for the next financial year, with 80% of respondents to Cipfa’s survey planning to make the maximum increase in regular council tax of 2.99% next year.

The figures include all the precepting authorities that form part of a council tax bill in an area. Some councils can also still apply a social care precept which was set at 6% over the three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20, however many authorities have already used up this freedom. 

The analysis is based on information from 312 of 352 English councils.

Households in London will see the highest percentage increase in council tax at 5.1%, compared to a 4.8% increase in metropolitan districts and 4.4% increase in two-tier areas (see table). 

However, Cipfa said while the increase was greater in the capital the average bill for band D property was still significantly lower than in other parts of the country, at £1,476.39 compared to £1,883.95 in the north east. The region with the next lowest council tax after London was the West Midlands, where it was £1,731.65.

The analysis also found steep increases in the police precept on the council tax bill, which is climbing by more than 12.6% in England.

Cipfa chief executive Rob Whiteman said: “The extent of the rises across the country are a reflection of the incredible fiscal pressure faced by local authorities and police. Without a bolder vision from government, the future of these services is increasingly being put at risk.

“Local authorities have faced the most significant cuts to spending over the last 10 years, and despite the government’s announcement that austerity is ending, for local authorities this is clearly not the case. Long term they remain in an unsustainable position.

“Ministers need to make radical decisions to secure the future of public services. Council tax is regressive, and increasingly divorced from the reality of property values. They will not be sufficient to meet rising demand for services such as adult, and increasingly, children’s social care.”

 

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