Local councils collected £36.5bn in council tax over the last financial year, almost £2bn more than the previous year, with this total climbing every year so far this Millennium.
That’s according to research by finance specialists, RIFT, who also found that Hackney has seen the biggest year on year increase in total council tax paid (+52%), while it’s residence in Buckinghamshire who paid the most last year with a total of £476.9m.
RIFT analysed Gov data on council tax receipts collected across England since the start of the Millennium and how this sum has changed over the years, as well as the areas to have seen the largest annual hikes.
The research shows that during the last financial year (2002-23), local councils across England collected £36.5bn in council tax. This marked a 5.6% increase on the previous year, meaning almost £2bn more was collected versus 2021-22. So far this Millennium, the total sum of council tax collected has increased each and every year, up from £12.2bn back in 2000-01.
When it comes to the highest total paid in council tax last year, Buckinghamshire ranks number one across the entire nation, with £476.8m paid in 2022-23. Birmingham (£449.8m), Leeds (£433.9m), Cornwall (£428.2m) and Wiltshire (£401.8m) also rank within the top five.
However it’s Hackney that has seen the largest increase year on year, with total council tax receipts up 52% annually – a year on year increase of £45.1m. Hackney is followed by Durham (+11%), Tendring (+11%), Tandridge (+11%) and Fareham (+10%).
Highest Council Tax Bill – Durham: £331.8m
Largest Annual Increase – Durham: +11% (+£33.3m)
Highest Council Tax Bill – Cheshire East: £311.9m
Largest Annual Increase – Liverpool: +9.2% (+£20.4m)
Yorkshire and the Humber
Highest Council Tax Bill – Leeds: £433.9m
Largest Annual Increase – Craven: +7% (+£3.3m)
Highest Council Tax Bill – Birmingham: £449.8m
Largest Annual Increase – Sandwell: +10% (+£12.8m)
Highest Council Tax Bill – West Northamptonshire: £289.1m
Largest Annual Increase – South Kesteven: +10% (+£8.5m)
Highest Council Tax Bill – Cornwall: £428.2m
Largest Annual Increase – Bournemouth, Christchurch and Pool: +8% (+£20.1m)
Highest Council Tax Bill – Buckinghamshire: £478.9m
Largest Annual Increase – Tandridge: +11% (+£8.2m)
East of England
Highest Council Tax Bill – Central Bedfordshire: £235.3m
Largest Annual Increase – Tendring: +11% (+£9.9m)
Highest Council Tax Bill – Croydon: £261.8m
Largest Annual Increase – Hackney: +52% (+£45.2m)
Bradley Post, MD of RIFT, said, “You may have come accustomed to an annual hike in your council tax bill, but you might be surprised to learn that total receipts collected from council tax have increased every single year this Millennium.
Paying our way is just part and parcel of life when it comes to taxes and council tax is unfortunately no different.
However, many households may feel slightly aggrieved at the increasing cost of council tax in the current climate as they struggle with the high cost of living. Especially if the local roads are still rife with potholes and their bin collection is intermittent, to say the least.”