Analysis by finance experts, RIFT, reveals that council tax in England has increased by an average of 5.1% in the past year, while shining a light on “a true postcode lottery” that has seen some local rates climb by as much as 14%.
RIFT has analysed average council tax rates in England in the years 2022/23 and 2023/24, looking at how the rate of tax has changed over the past year on a national and local level.
In recent weeks, a number of councils across England, including areas such as Cornwall, Croydon, and Falmouth, have announced that they intend to increase council tax rates, often as an attempt to increase revenue and avoid the council from going bankrupt.
RIFT can now reveal that any new council tax increases will come as a painful second blow to much of England’s population who have already endured significant increases over the past year.
In England, the average council tax bill has increased from £1,966 last year to £2,065 this year, marking an annual increase of 5.1%, or almost £100.
Londoners have experienced the largest regional increase, seeing the average rate jump by 6.2% to sit at £1,801 per year.
London, however, continues to have the lowest average council tax bill of all English regions, while at £2,196, the North East has the highest.
The smallest regional tax increase has been recorded in the East of England where councils have increased rates by an average of 4.6%.
When analysing the data on a local authority level, it’s revealed that there has been an enormous difference in annual tax increases between different areas of the country.
The biggest council tax increase in England has been recorded in Croydon, South London. In the past year, the borough’s average rate has risen by a staggering 13.9%, or £273.90, bringing the current price up to £2,240. Despite this large increase, councillors in Croydon are now considering another 5% increase for the year 2024/25.
Thurrock in Essex has seen a rise of 9.4%, and Slough has seen an increase of 9.3%.
The list of England’s largest increases then goes on to be dominated by London boroughs including the City of London (6.6%), Hammersmith & Fulham (6.4%), and Newham (6.2%).
Among the largest council tax increases outside of London are Eastleigh (5.8%), Peterborough (5.8%), and Huntingdonshire (5.6%).
However, while some people battle double-digit increases, there remain other areas of England where residents have been more lucky in facing only modest rate rises. These include Central Bedfordshire (1.3%), North Lincolnshire (2.4%), Telford & Wrekin (2.6%), Surrey Heath (3.3%), and Spelthorne (3.3%).
Bradley Post, MD of RIFT, said, “Councils are having a tough time of it at the moment with many on the brink of bankruptcy. Increasing council tax is one way in which they can try and keep their heads above water, but during a cost of living crisis it’s a bitter pill to swallow for residents.
There’s also such a vast discrepancy between one area of England and the next. A true postcode lottery. We have to feel for the people of Croydon, for example, who are facing almost a 20% tax increase in just two years.
Anyone who is worried about being able to afford rising taxes at a time like this might want to consider checking whether or not they’re eligible for a tax refund. It’s not just the self-employed who could be owed money by HMRC, and you can back-collect for up to four years, so it’s well worth checking out. You could be entitled to hundreds of pounds.”