A 5% council tax increase from April onwards for millions of households

The finances of millions of households are under further pressure and almost three out of four local authorities plan to increase council tax by the maximum amount allowed.

Of the 114 councils that provide social care and have published their 2023/24 budget proposals, 84 are planning a 5% increase, according to research carried out by the County Council Network (CCN).

Labor deputy chairman of CCN, and leader of Cheshire East Council, Sam Corcoran, said local authorities had “little choice” but to make the move.

“With inflation reaching levels not seen for more than 40 years and demand-led pressures on care services unabated, local authority leaders are finding themselves budgeting in the most difficult circumstances for many years ,” he said.

“We recognize that the cost of living crisis is affecting every family in the country and disproportionately on low incomes, but we have little choice but to propose increases in council tax again next year, with many authorities reluctant local selection of maximum increases.

“With councils facing millions in funding shortfalls next year, the alternative to increases in council tax is massive cuts to frontline services at a time when people in the cost of living crisis need us to be there for them.

“With the financial situation of councils looking very difficult for years to come, we will be asking the Chancellor for more help in the March Budget.”

Previously, local authorities would have had to hold a referendum to raise the levy above 3%, but Chancellor Jeremy Hunt raised this limit to 5% last autumn.

The Office for Budget Responsibility says this will raise £3.3bn in 2026/27, rising to £4.8bn in 2027/28.

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A spokesperson for the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said: “We recognize the pressure on councils and have made almost £60bn available in the next financial year – a 9% increase on 2022-23 – to the most deprived areas . England getting 17% more per family this year than the least deprived.

“Our approach to advice tax reflects the need to provide vital services and protect residents from excessive increases, and we hope local authorities will take into account the challenges facing many families.”

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