90% of English local authorities increasing council tax

Press Association

Nine out of 10 local authorities in England are increasing their level of council tax from April, a new survey has found.

Residents in some areas will see their bills rise by as much as 5%, as councils take full advantage of new powers to top up their charges with money ring-fenced for social care.

Only 22 councils are freezing council tax in 2017/18, while just one – East Hampshire – has said it is cutting the amount.

The figures have been compiled by the Press Association from all 353 local authorities in England.

They show a 180 degree turnaround from 2012/13, when nine out of 10 authorities froze or cut council tax and just 35 raised it.

The Local Government Association said the findings suggested councils had found themselves “unable to turn down the chance to raise desperately-needed money for local services” and warned increases were unlikely to prevent further cutbacks.

But the Department for Communities and Local Government said councils had “almost £200 billion available to them over four years” and should be working to deliver “sensible savings to protect front line services and keep bills down.”

The survey also found that:

Of the 152 local authorities able to raise bills by up to an extra 3% to fund social care, more than two thirds are implementing the full amount.A total of 73 of these councils are also raising basic council tax by a maximum of 1.99%, making for a total increase of 4.99%.Breckland council in Norfolk reported the highest percentage rise (6.6%), but said it had the lowest level of tax in England.

A council tax bill

Ferris Cowper, leader of East Hampshire council said he hoped it…

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