Council tax could rise by almost 6% from April

21 December 2017
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Local authorities will soon be able to increase council tax bills by up to 5.99% without consulting residents, the government has announced.

Currently, councils are required to hold a local referendum if they want to raise council tax rates by more than 1.99%. However, this cap will be increased from April 2018, meaning councils will be able to implement a 2.99% rise without holding a vote.

Councils can also implement a further 3% increase in council tax to fund the costs of social care, meaning some people could see their council tax bill rise by 5.99% in the 2018/19 tax year.

The Department for Communities and Local Government says increasing the cap will allow councils to raise more money to pay for public services while still protecting residents from large tax increases.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid says: “I am aware of the pressures facing councils and this is why I am giving them more flexibility, so they have greater control over the money they raise to address local needs.

“This strikes a balance between giving councils the ability to make decisions to meet pressures and ensure that our most vulnerable in society get the support they need while protecting residents against excessive council tax bill rises.”

However, the chairman of the Local Government Association, Lord Porter, has urged the government to scrap the cap altogether.

“Greater flexibility for local authorities in setting council tax levels will give some councils the option of raising extra money to offset some of the financial pressures they face next year,” he says.

“With no other national tax subject to referenda, the council tax referendum limit needs to be abolished so councils and their communities can decide how under-pressure local services are paid for, with residents able to democratically hold their council to account through the ballot box.”

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Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Mr Porter needs a reality check, his suggestion that the cap be abolished altogether seems way out of touch, almost as if he's wealthy enough and so sod everyone else, it's a disgrace. He's expressing concern about the financial pressures councils are set to face in 2018 but makes no mention of the millions who are struggling to put bread on the table yet alone come up with council tax for services which seem to get cut back each year. Many people only receive a bi-weekly refuse collection service having been used to once a week previously, for instance. Yet no reduction in the council tax bill for them. This is why some abandon the council tax payment altogether although I am not advocating that course of action. What Lord Porter needs to understand is that most UK citizens have had an effective pay cut with low interest rates, wage stagnation and inflation through the roof so he should think of other ways of raising money for local authorities for example by lobbying HM Government to get its act together with the Universal Credit payments for those on Housing Benefit, the late/botched and in some cases non-payments are putting an unacceptable strain on the councils who have starting booting tenants out for non-payment of rent! Let him concentrate on that and not on putting everyone else in further hardship.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It's a disgrace the 5 percent rise why are we paying for stupid police commissioner and now social care my bill is over 1100 per year I only have my wage to live on everybody was up in arms over poll tax nobody complaining about this they should start and cut councillors wages and Lord Mayor and rubbish police commissioner who nobody voted for I am fuming

In reply to by chrisrich (not verified)

Spot on with your comments. Lets not also forget that rate payers are having to fund their very generous final salary pensions, not I might add at 65 years of age, [unlike the majority of the population who will only have the state pension and a diluted private pension to live on] , but, at the age of 60 in local government.Currently the majority of Police officers in the Uk today retire at the age of 50, all again funded by the wealth creators of the Private sector. The 2017/18 Police Budget is £8.5 Billion with £ 2.5 Billion allocated to fund retired Police Officers and dependants.So as a nation it will be impossible to fully fund all of our Public Agencies, whilst the average working life is between 25 and 30 years service inorder to receive these generous pensions compared to the state pension which can not be drawn upon until currently 65 years of age and to increase to 66 years of age shortly, for which the working life is double that of a Public servant or 50 years of your working life in the private sector.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It's disgraceful how National Government is passing responsibility for national issues - such as, but not limited to, social care - to Local Government, while continuing to reduce funding. This means local councils pick up the flak for tax rises actually necessitated by National Government policies.The requirement for Local Government to hold a referendum on council tax rises beyond a given level always was a sham. Council tax payers can't 'hold their council to account through the ballot box', as Lord Porter suggests. They can throw out the elected councillors, but they merely rubber stamp what the unelected council officials put before them in their budget; tax payers CAN'T throw out the unelected officials who actually decide council tax rises.

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