Council tax bills to rise by £50

The average household will be charged more than £50 extra in council tax this year, according to estimates.

A survey of local authorities across England found the average council tax bill is set to rise by 3.9 per cent to £52.

This is below last year’s average rise of 4.2 per cent and will leave the typical Band D household paying an annual bill of £1,373.

However, the average marks wide regional difficulties, with rises in central London averaging £22 compared to £61 in the south-west.

At 2.7 per cent the average London hike is below RPI inflation of 4.1 per cent, while those in the south-west are hit by an above average 4.5 per cent rise.

The figures are based on reports from two-thirds of local authorities in England, compiled by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) for the Times and Radio 4’s Today programme.

This year’s council tax bills are set amid a tight funding settlement from central government, as well as rising inflation and living costs.

Steve Freer, CIPFA’s chief executive, explained hikes were subdued under the threat of “capping” by the government.

He said: “The minister has emphasised that he expects the average increase to be less than five per cent and will no doubt be encouraged that our survey points to an actual average of 3.9 per cent across the country.

“Councils will be redoubling their efforts to make efficiency savings to balance tight budgets. But where there’s still a gap to bridge there is every likelihood that some service levels will have to be reduced.”