The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) latest research into council tax rates predicts a rise in council tax for 80% of councils in England.

CIPFA’s research findings

CIPFA received 328 complete Council Tax Surveys, a 74% response rate, from councils in England and Wales. We are referring to the data based on the 312 English councils, a full summary of the Welsh figures is not yet released. 301 of the 312 English councils that participated in the survey said that they intend to charge council tax at the maximum increase of 2.99%. If the councils still retain responsibility for social care provision, then they can add an extra 2%. Ending up with a total rise of 4.99%. They are able to go higher than this percentage, but they must hold a local referendum first.

Main takeaways from this research are:

  • In the last decade, this is the second highest increase of council tax.
  • The highest was the 5.1% of last year.
  • The cost of this rise is different in different parts of the country. For example, a total average council tax bill in the North East will be £1,883.95 and £1,476.39 in Greater London.
  • An example of the impact of such a rise in real terms is: Band D households will see a 4.5% increase in their council tax bill in 2019-20 tax year, which means paying an extra £75.60.

What do people think about these council tax bill increases?

CIPFA CEO, Rob Whiteman, said in their press release:

“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 ten 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.”

Richard Watts of the Local Government Association gave a stark example, saying that since 2010, councils have “lost 60p in every £1” of government funding for services. As reported by the BBC, he said: “Faced with such funding pressures, many councils feel they have little choice but to ask residents to pay more council tax again this year to help them try to protect their local services.”

And the government’s position?

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

So be prepared for a rise in your council tax bill in April. The lowest in the survey, is a rise of £71 per year in London. And the highest is an increase of £86 in the North East. All the other councils’ rises lie somewhere in between.