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Image of a council tax bill with pound coins on top and a red monopoly house. Find out how much your council tax will increase in April
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calendar icon21 Feb 2024

Majority of councils to raise tax by the maximum allowed

Majority of councils to raise tax by the maximum allowed

New figures out show that nearly all councils plan to increase council tax by the maximum allowed. Find out what it means for your household bills here

129 out of 136 councils in England are set to increase their council tax by 4.99% from April – the maximum allowed by the government.

The rises mean that the average D band household (properties from £68,001 to £88,000) will see an additional £103 added to their council tax bill.

A number of councils – including Birmingham, Woking, Slough and Thurrock who have all declared themselves bankrupt - have special permission to raise their levies even higher. Residents in these areas are set to see their charges rise by 10%.

The council tax rises follow recent warnings from council leaders that residents would have to help shoulder budget shortfalls.

They’re in sharp contrast to last year when just three in four councils chose to increase their rates to the maximum allowed. Only eight have stated they will raise taxes below the maximum threshold this April, though these hikes are only marginally lower. The lowest rises are Hartlepool at 2.99% and Rotherham at 3.5%.

Seventeen councils are yet to announce how much they plan to increase their tax by.  

What is council tax?

Council tax is an annual fee you pay to your local council. The cost is set by your council and goes towards funding local services.

Why do we pay council tax?

Your local services are funded by council tax, including:

  • Police and fire
  • Leisure and recreation such as maintaining parks and sports centres
  • Libraries and education services
  • Rubbish and waste collection and disposal
  • Transport and highway services, including street lighting and cleaning and road maintenance
  • Environmental health and trading standards
  • Administration and record-keeping, such as marriages, deaths and births and local elections

Council tax isn’t used to pay for health services

How much do you pay for council tax?

There’s no set payment for council tax. What you pay depends on the value of your home. Charges are banded like this:

Band A – value of home up to £40,000

Band B - £40,0001 to £53,000

Band C - £52,001 to £68,000

Band D - £68,001 to £88,000

It also depends on where you live, as each council decides how much it will charge. To find out more about your council’s charges visit their website, which can be found at www.gov.uk

I can’t afford my council tax, can I get a reduction?

You might be entitled to a reduction – sometimes up to 100% - if you’re:

  • On a low income
  • A student or you live with students
  • Living alone or are the only adult in your home
  • Claiming certain benefits such as jobseekers allowance, income support, pension credit, employment and support allowance and universal credit
  • Disabled or someone you live with has a disability and needs to live in a larger home
  • Severely mentally impaired or living with someone who is
  • Living in certain counties in England and are a care leaver
  • A member of the armed forces (depending on circumstances)
  • In a care home or hospital
  • In prison (unless you’re serving a sentence for failing to pay council tax)

How can I make paying council tax more affordable?

Most councils will allow you to spread council tax payments over 12 months instead of the usual ten. Speak to your local council to see if they offer this option.

If you do pay in ten instalments, you won’t have payments taken in February and March.

What happens if I miss a council tax payment?

Council tax is a priority payment. This means you could face serious consequences if you miss or fail to make a payment.

Initially, you will get a reminder notice giving you seven days to bring your instalments up to date. If you fail to make a payment within this time, you could be asked to make a full year’s payment upfront, be fined or risk receiving a court summons, leading to additional fees.

If you think you might have a problem paying your council tax, you should contact your local council immediately – do not wait for them to contact you. Speak to someone and explain your situation as they might be able to give you advice or set up a payment plan.

If you are struggling to keep on top of priority payments, you should seek free debt support.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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