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Tue, 31 March 2020

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Households in England set to be hit by above inflation council tax rise, new research reveals

Households in England set to be hit by above inflation council tax rise, new research reveals
2 min read

The majority of households across England are set to be hit by a council tax rise, a new study has found.


The inflation-busting increase will see the average home paying an extra £70 each year according to new research by the County Councils Network (CCN).

It comes despite councils warning they would likely have to make cuts to services such as meals on wheels for the elderly as they struggle with a £19.1bn funding shortfall over the next five years.

According to the study, 116 local authorities out of the 133 which have responsbility for social care will raise council tax by 4%, more than double the current 1.8% level of inflation.

The new research comes just weeks ahead of newly-appointed Chancellor Rishi Sunak's first Budget.

Councillor David Williams, the CCN chairman, warned local authorities would continue to be forced to make "really tough choices" due to the funding shortfall.

“No council leader wants to raise council tax, especially after residents have faced rises over the last few years, but [these] figures show that we simply do not have a choice," he said.

“Unfortunately this pattern is set to continue, but even yearly council tax rises for residents over the next five years still leaves councils with a huge shortfall, meaning local politicians will need to continue to make really tough decisions to meet rising demand.”

Meanwhile, Labour's shadow local government secretary Andrew Gwynne hit out at Boris Johnson, saying the council tax rise showed his pledge to "level up" communities was "worthless".

He said: "A decade of cuts has devastated local government services - but instead of providing the funding that is needed, this administration has continued to shift the burden onto struggling families.

"If we continue to fund social care like this, it will lurch from crisis to crisis, and we urgently need to see a long-term solution from the government to fix this crisis."

But a spokesperson for the ministry of housing, communities and local government insisted council funding for 2020-21, which sits at £49.2bn, was the "biggest annual real-terms increase in spending power in a decade".

They added: "The funding plans provide certainty for councils who are responsible for delivering the services their communities need and will give local residents the final say on council tax increases."

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