Council Tax to rise at double the inflation rate as millions face maximum hike

Millions of families' Council Tax will rise at double the inflation rate this April – as almost every town hall in England demands the maximum hike.

More than 116 out of 151 councils are raising the charge by the highest possible 3.99%, new research shows.

That will leave the average county council resident paying an extra £69 while those in London fork out £45 , according to the County Councils Network.

The rises far outstrip the 1.8% inflation rate and come after years of inflation-busting rises thanks to the Tories – who have left town halls with the burden of making up for a decade of cuts.

English councils are allowed to raise their 2020/21 council tax by 1.99% plus 2% for cash-starved social care.

But CCN chairman David Williams warned even with this year's eye-watering rises, councils will face a £19bn shortfall by 2025.

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He said: “No council leader wants to raise their council tax, especially after residents have faced rises over the last few years. But today’s figures show we simply do not have a choice."

He added: "The government must use the March Budget to signal that councils will receive a further cash injection in the Spending Review."

The County Councils Network and the Mirror both carried out similar research on rises in scores of councils' draft Budgets from April 2020.

The Mirror had already revealed how the first £2,000-plus Council Tax bills for a 'Band D' home – regarded as the average – appeared last year.

Now our research shows Dorset, Rutland and Nottingham will see Band D bills top £2,100 for the first time.

Nottingham will see the highest rise according to our research, with bills going up by £69 from £2,038 to at least £2,107.

But the final rise will actually be higher, because our figures don't include separate tax hikes on behalf of police and fire authorities, or district or parish councils.

Also seeing rises above £65 for a Band D home are Walsall, Liverpool, Bristol, Rutland, Northumberland and Middlesbrough.

Not one council is freezing its council tax next year, according to our research.

Fewer than 15 councils in England are slapping on a hike of less than 3.9% and only two – Derbyshire County Council and Wigan – are opting for less than 3%. Both are opting for 2%.

Some areas, Merton, Gateshead, St Helens, Plymouth and Redcar & Cleveland, are yet to set their rate at the time of writing. Others are slapping on rises such as 3.95% or 3.98%.

The County Councils Network said the huge rises mean in shire counties – anywhere that isn't a unitary, metropolitan or London council – the average Band D bill will be £1,853.

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