Average council tax bills set to soar by up to £107 a year

Average council tax bills set to soar by an up to £107 a year under new funding plans revealed by ministers – but it will help hand the police an extra £1billion

  • Councils allowed to raise local tax bills by 3% – adding £50 to the average bill 
  • Local authorities which still have social care precept can add another 2% or £33
  • Police precept has also increased to add £24 a year to the average Band D bill 
  • Figures will make an Band D council tax bill cost up to £1778 a year in 2019/20

Residents face ‘inflation-busting’ council tax rises adding up to £107 to the average bill next year, new funding plans revealed today.

Town halls will be forced to hike council taxes to plug central government funding gaps, Labour warned. 

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said councils would be allowed to raise council tax by up to 3 per cent without calling a local referendum – £50 on the typical Band D bill that was £1,671 this year.

Under rules announced in 2016 to raise extra funding for social care, some councils will also be able to add another 2 per cent to bills – another £33. 

The final social care figure in each local authority depends on increases in previous years as bill rises were capped at 6 per cent between 2017 and 2020.

On top of the council tax hikes, the police precept will add an extra £24 to the average bill. 

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said this would part fund a £1billion funding boost for the police he unveiled today.

Adding all three extra charges means the average household bill will rise by £107 in 2019/20.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire (pictured in the Commons today) said councils would be allowed to raise council tax by up to 3 per cent without calling a local referendum

Home Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured leaving home today) said this would part fund a £1billion funding boost for the police he unveiled today

Mr Brokenshire said council core spending is forecast to increase from £45.1 billion in 2018/19 to £46.4 billion in 2019/20 – a cash increase of 2.8 per cent. 

He also announced extra support for rural local authorities but was unable to confirm when the Government would bring forward its proposals on adult social care.

Mr Javid said: ‘Since becoming Home Secretary I have been clear I would prioritise police funding, and today I have delivered on that promise.

‘Taken together, this substantial increase in police funding will enable forces to continue recruiting, fill crucial capability gaps such as in detectives, meet their genuine financial pressures, drive through efficiency programmes, and improve their effectiveness by preventing crime and delivering better outcomes for victims of crime.’ 


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Shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne criticised the under-resourcing of local government at a time of rising demand, and warned the Government’s desire to ‘shift the burden’ on to council tax risked ‘widening’ inequality as communities raise different amounts by using it.

Typical Council Tax bills to rise by up to £107  

Typical Band D Council Tax bills, currently £1,671, will rise by up to £107 in 2019/2- under today’s announcement. It includes: 

  • Council Tax itself can rise 3 per cent without calling a local referendum – adding £50.
  • Under rules announced in 2016 to raise extra funding for social care, some councils will also be able to add another 2 per cent to Council Tax bills – another £33
  • The police precept will add an extra £24 to bills next year – providing half of a £1billion funding boost for police.

He said: ‘Can he confirm he’s recommending an inflation-busting council tax rise this year to local government to plug his department’s gaps?’

Mr Gwynne added: ‘The truth about this statement is it was the worst secret Santa ever because much of what he’s announced today was already announced by the Chancellor in his Budget. There’s nothing new.’ 

Mr Brokenshire told him: ‘I’m disappointed that he has not recognised the increases in spending that have been set out in the Budget and I’ve again underlined and highlighted further spending within the statement today.

‘One of my colleagues questioned whether he might be the Gwynne-inch that stole Christmas.’

Earlier, to shouts of ‘fudge’ from the Labour benches, Mr Brokenshire said it was a settlement to allow councils to ‘rise to new opportunities and challenges’ and ‘to grow their economies and ensure there is opportunity for all’.

He told MPs: ‘I can confirm that we will increase the rural service delivery grant by £16 million in 2019/20 to maintain this at last year’s level, this recognises the extra cost to providing services in those communities.

Local authorities can add 3 per cent to basic council tax and raise more money for adult social care and the police with additions to bills 

‘In addition, I’m committing up to £20 million to maintain the new homes bonus baseline at 0.4 per cent in 2019/20 to ensure we continue to reward councils delivering the homes we need.’ 

Labour MP Clive Betts dismissed the settlement saying it represented ‘no additional funding’ for councils.

He said: ‘For the next financial year, this will mean further cuts and more austerity still being the order of the day for most local councils.’

Tory former minister Sir Desmond Swayne highlighted the £500 million of cuts made by his own local authority, asking: ‘Will he acknowledge the difficulties being faced by even the best run councils.’

Mr Brokenshire responded: ‘I do acknowledge the pressure that councils have been experiencing, the hard choices that so many have had to make to deal with the public finance issues that we have had to respond to.’ 

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