Get ready! A council tax rise could be on the horizon
Council tax is another monthly bill which adds to our never ending outgoings but get ready as this April 9 out of 10 local authorities are likely to increase their council tax bills so be prepared.
In order to fund care for the elderly councils have been given the potential power to add an extra 2% to the annual council tax bill. This might not sound like a bit but it all adds up. The Local Government Association (LGA) has said that 143 out of 152 social care authorities have already approved the change or are looking into approving it. This will add on an average an extra £24 to the annual cost of a Band D home, but this isn’t all.
On top of this local councils can choose to charge another 1.99% to the council tax costs. Both February and March are ‘holiday’ months from your council tax so this is a good opportunity to save some money in preparation for the increase. The full council tax increases can add over £60 to each household.
Not only will prices increase but 40% of councils surveyed said that they will be cutting frontline services that are “evident to the public” due to the funding changes. The Chancellor, George Osborne slashed central funding for local authorities which in turn granted them powers to increase council tax.
During last year’s budget meeting he said “Local authorities who are responsible for social care will be able to levy a new social care precept of up to 2 per cent on council tax. The money raised will have to be spent exclusively on adult social care – and if all authorities make full use of it, it will bring almost £2 billion more into the care system”.
Tory Communities Secretary Greg Clark went on to say: “This historic four-year funding settlement means nearly two thirds of councils are confident they will be financed independently of central government within five years – something local government has campaigned for over decades.”
A lot of us work on tight budgets as it is so an extra cost can make a big difference so it’s worth checking if you’re eligible for discounts. If you either live on your own or are the only adult in the household you can apply for a 25% reduction in your council tax rates, and if you’re a student you don’t need to pay council tax at all regardless of how many people live there, as long as they’re all students.
Other discounts are available for people who have a disability or are on low income so make sure you research your options before just accepting the increase.