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Huge council tax rise due in April 2018 - here's how much it could cost you

Mirror logo Mirror 08/02/2018 Andrew Gregory
a person standing in front of a truck: Credits: Rex© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Rex

Almost every household in England will be hit by an inflation-busting council tax rise of up to 6% from April.

A devastating survey shows how town halls and their taxpayers are now "perilously close to the edge" after years of swingeing cuts from Tory government.

On top of the huge rises, more than 90% of councils are considering hiking fees for vital services like garden waste collection, meals on wheels, burials and planning applications.

And police forces are being forced to impose the £12 maximum possible 'precept', which comes on top of any normal rise, just to keep pace with inflation.

Tory MPs were blasted last night for voting through real-terms cuts to police grants from central government. The only way police forces can get their hands on £270million of extra cash is by imposing the maximum council tax precept.

Local Government Association chairman Lord Porter - who is a Tory peer - said councils are being "pushed perilously close to the financial edge."

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He added: "Many will have to make tough decisions about which services have to be scaled back or stopped altogether to plug funding gaps.

“Extra council tax raising powers will helpfully give some councils the option to raise some extra income but will not bring in enough to completely ease the financial pressure they face.

“This means many councils face having to ask residents to pay more council tax while offering fewer services as a result."

It comes after Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid gave councils in England the green light to increase bills by as much as 2.99%, instead of 1.99%.

How council tax will soar from April 2018

Credits: PA© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: PA *These are the average rates in 2017/18 for each band in the UK, and what level they will hit in 2018/19 if they rose by the maximum 6%. Actual bills vary greatly from council to council.

BAND - 2017/18 rate - Possible 2018/19 rate

Band A - £1,061 - £1,137

Band B - £1,237 - £1,323

Band C - £1,414 - £1,511

Band D - £1,591 - £1,698

Band E - £1,945 - £2,074

Band F - £2,298 - £2,448

Band G - £2,652 - £2,823

Band H - £3,812 - £3,386

Sajid Javid wearing a suit and tie: Credits: PA© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: PA

Authorities that provide social care can also impose a precept of up to 3% - making a total rise of 5.99%. This is almost double the rate of inflation.

Today a major report reveals council tax will be hiked by nearly all English local authorities as a vast majority fear for their financial stability.

More than two thirds of councils plan to raise council tax by at least 2.5%, the survey reveals.

A 6% rise - planned by a fifth of councils - would take the annual cost for a typical property (the average Band D home) up £95 to £1,686.

Nearly all councils (95%) plan to increase council tax while 93% will hike charges to make ends meet, the 2018 State of Local Government Finance research conducted by the LGiU think tank and The Municipal Journal found.

The planned increases come against a backdrop in which 80% of councils fear for their financial stability.

The greatest immediate pressure on budgets came in children’s services (nearly 32% of councils), followed by adult social care (nearly 28%), and housing and homelessness (19%).

Adult social care was the greatest long-term pressure (nearly 38%), the survey said.

Critics say the Government has made an outrageous attempt to pass the buck to cash-starved councils.

Some fear that even rises of nearly 6% will not be enough to plug financial black holes created by 40% cuts in Whitehall funding since 2010.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGiU, said: “Councils are on the edge.

"They are for the most part holding services together (though a significant minority are not).

"But they can only do this this by raising council tax, increasing charging and draining their reserves.

“The system is unsustainable and needs far more fundamental reform than is presently on offer. It’s simply not acceptable that we don’t know how local government will work post 2020.

“Councils are calling for assurances around funding for the next three years and for a fundamental redesign of the finance system. At present government is offering neither. That has to change.”

A total of 113 individual councils responded to the survey, representing a third of all English local authorities.

152 councils in England - including all London boroughs, county councils, unitary and metropolitan authorities, can hike council tax by a further ‘precept’ of three per cent if it is earmarked for social care.

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There are a total of 353 local authorities in England - the rest are made up of 201 District Councils.

Last night it was claimed Britain’s richest county, Surrey, is facing a £100 million cash crisis - one of the worst financial shortfalls in the country.

Council documents are said to warn of a £105 million funding gap - the difference between the funding it expects to receive in the next financial year and the money it needs to spend.

It is the largest deficit reported by any of the 150 English local authorities.

Only last year, Tory-run Surrey County Council was engulfed in a row when it cancelled a 15% rise at the last minute following assurances from the government.

A spokesman said it was under “severe financial pressure due to rising demand for our services and falling government funding."

  • Labour says it will boost local authorities by following the example of Preston City Council. The town hall returned almost £200million to the local economy and supported more than 1,600 jobs with measures including buying local goods and services where possible.

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