Households across England will be hit with an average 5.1 per cent rise in council taxes from next month, the steepest increase for 14 years.
As local authorities struggle with the rising cost of social care, annual bills for a typical property in band D — a category based on property values — will rise by £81, to £1,671, according to the latest official figures.
A report by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government found households living in the same category of property in London will see their bills rise to £1,405, an increase of £55.
Gary Porter, a Conservative peer who chairs the Local Government Association, warned that the latest rise in council taxes was a sign of the growing pressure on councils that are struggling to finance local services.
“Since 2010, council tax bills have risen by less than inflation and other key household bills,” he said. “But faced with severe funding pressures, many councils feel they are being left with little choice but to ask residents to pay more to help them try and protect their local services.
“The extra income this year will help offset some of the financial pressures they face, but the reality is that many councils are now beyond the point where council tax income can be expected to plug the growing funding gaps they face.”
He added: “This means councils will have to continue to cut back services or stop some altogether to plug funding gaps.”
Nearly all the local authorities in England with responsibilities for adult social care — 148 out of 152 councils — will increase their council tax by up to 3 per cent under the “social care precept”.
The precept gives councils the right to raise up to 6 per cent in additional tax over a two-year period to help ease the cost of care services for the elderly. The government said the “additional flexibility” accounted for £30 of the average band D council tax bill.
Sajid Javid, communities secretary, said council tax in England was 7.6 per cent lower in real terms than it had been when the Conservatives entered government in 2010.
“Under the last Labour government council tax doubled and in Labour-run Wales it has trebled,” he said. “It’s Conservative councils across the country who are delivering high-quality services while managing taxpayers money more effectively.”
Earlier this week Mr Javid announced that commissioners would be sent in to Northamptonshire county council to take direct control of the authority’s financial management. The Tory-led council imposed emergency spending controls last month.
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