Some councils in England have been given the green light to raise taxes by up to 5% in each of the next two financial years.
The government has today announced that local authorities with responsibility for the social care of vulnerable people can raise council tax bills by up to 3% in both the next tax year, and the year after that.
The overall increase to the ‘social care precept’ as it’s known, in the next three years will, however, be capped at 6%. So local authorities that implement a 3% increase in both 2017/18 and 2018/19 will not be allowed to up bills again for this reason in 2019/20.
- For more on council tax costs, see Beat 2016/17 bill hikes
The 3% increase is more than the 2% originally planned, and means local authorities will be able to raise an additional £208 million for social care next year, according to the government.
The government adds that a 3% increase will add just £1 a month to the average Band D council tax bill.
However, as the majority of local authorities in England are allowed to increase council tax by an additional 2% on top of the social care precept, it means council tax bills could rise by 5% for some next year.
Both council tax increases and the social care precept are reviewed on an annual basis. Local authorities can raise taxes above these limits, but only if it’s agreed on by a local referendum.
Cut council tax bills
You can apply to your local authority to get a council discount of:
- 25% if you’re an adult living on your own, or no one else in your home counts as an adult (which is generally someone aged over 18 who isn’t a full- time college or university student);
- 50% if no one in your home, including you, counts as an adult – for example, those on apprentice schemes. See Gov.uk/council-tax for a full list;
- up to 50% off second homes or holiday homes;
- 100% off if everyone in your home is a full-time student;
- 100% off for up to six months (from getting probate) if you’re selling an empty property on behalf of someone who has died; or
- up to 100% off if you’re on a low income or claim certain benefits.
You may also be able to challenge your council tax band if you think you’re in the wrong one – although be warned that if you ask for a reassessment there’s a chance your local authority could move you into a pricier band rather than a cheaper one.