The majority of councils in England and Wales say they will be forced to increase council tax in the 2017/18 financial year, according to new research by the Local Government Information Unit.
Of the 131 councils that responded to the think tank’s survey (there are 375 local authorities across England and Wales), 94% said they’d likely be upping council taxes, as well as raising charges for local services.
When it comes to council tax, the councils also said they want to have the ability to reband council tax rates, as well as scrap the requirement for a local referendum in order to raise council taxes above 2% a year.
- For more on council tax costs across the UK, see Beat 2016/17 bill hikes
Some councils in England have, however, already been given the green light by the government to raise taxes by up to 5% in each of the next two financial years.
Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit, says local councils are struggling with funding cuts, resulting in them wanting to raise rates. He adds: “Local government finances across the country are in a dire state. Council budgets are stretched beyond measure. Increased demand coupled with the management of nearly a decade of cuts from the Government has left local government at breaking point.”
Cut council tax bills
You can apply to your local authority to get a council tax 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% on second homes or holiday homes;
- 100% if everyone in your home is a full-time student;
- 100% 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% 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.