England

Council tax bills rise across England

Monopoly house piece on cash Image copyright PA

Council tax bills in almost every part of England are rising on Friday with an average annual increase of £46.

People in a Band D home in Pendle in Lancashire can expect to pay an extra £74 in 2016-17, the biggest rise in the country.

Bills will rise in 314 out of 327 areas, even if the council is freezing its share, analysis by BBC News shows.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said £3.5bn will be raised to care for older people.

The overall bills include any precepts levied by parish councils, county councils, police and crime commissioners and fire authorities.

Figures are based on an average Band D property, in the middle of the price range for council tax levies.

Londoners in 13 of the capital's boroughs will be the only people to see their overall Band D council tax bill fall after the Greater London Authority cut its share by £19 per Band D home.

Councils are subject to a cap on rises of 1.99% unless they hold a referendum.

However, from this year larger authorities were allowed to increase bills by a total of 3.99%, as long as the additional income went towards adult social care.

Smaller parish councils are not subject to the referendum rules, meaning overall bills in areas like Pendle and Cornwall are rising 5%.

Data released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) showed Pendle Borough Council was increasing its share of the council tax by 1.99%.

However, the average parish council increase is putting an additional £50 on the bill. Altogether, with the share paid to Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire Constabulary, the average Pendle taxpayer will see their bill go from £1,624 to £1,698.

Pendle Borough Council said it was the first increase in its share of council tax since 2008-9.

Philip Mousdale, its corporate director, said the authority had "no control" over the rest of the bill, which was set by other authorities.

He said: "We took the decision to increase council tax against the backdrop of significant reductions in government funding in which Pendle was one of the worst affected district councils."

Across England, Band D taxpayers in 238 council areas will see their annual bills rise by more than £50.

The Local Government Association said councils were being expected to raise council tax to make up for funding cuts, despite having previously been offered grants to freeze or reduce bills.

A spokesman said: "After years of striving to keep council tax as low as possible or frozen, town halls find themselves having no choice but to ask residents to pay more council tax over the next few years."

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: "Our historic four-year funding deal for councils both gives them certainty to plan ahead, and meets the clear request to prioritise care for elderly and vulnerable people, with a social care funding package of up to £3.5bn.

"Today's figures show how councils are keeping council tax low, and using the freedom they asked for to set a social care precept as part of local bills.

"Even with this, council tax will still be lower in real terms in 2019/20 than in 2009/10 - and this year's increase is still lower than the average 6.2% annual increase between 1997 and 2010."

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