Welsh council tax to jump by 6.5% in 2019-20, says CIPFA

14 Mar 19

Welsh households will endure the sharpest rise in council tax for 15 years, CIPFA has found.

Average council tax bills will jump by 6.5% in 2019-20 leaving households with £97 extra to pay each year, according to the findings of CIPFA’s council tax survey.

The institute’s research revealed geographical differences in tax increases, with the average band D in South Wales facing an increase of 5.7% and mid and west Wales expecting a 8.1% rise.

The analysis comes after CIPFA recently revealed local authorities in England were planning council tax rises of 4.5% for next year – the second highest increase in a decade.

As in England, Welsh local police and crime commissioners across Wales are collectively increasing the police precept included in the council tax bill, which is rising by 9.1%, CIPFA said.

In his local government finance settlement in December 2018, communities secretary James Brokenshire allowed police and crime commissioners in England and Wales to double the police precept on the council tax bill.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA chief executive, said the “substantial rise” is evidence of the financial pressure that local authorities and police forces are dealing with.

“Having lost nearly 50% of the grants received from central government, it is unsurprising that councils are seeking to increase their council tax take with the cost of running local services being passed onto households,” he said.

Whiteman added: “Such rises in council tax also raise serious questions over the ability of the tax to provide a long-term funding solution. Further reform must be considered beyond the revaluation made in Wales in 2003.

“There must be sustainable and sufficient support from government for funding solutions for local authorities that take into account the huge range of services they provide.”

Welsh authorities are not required to hold a referendum on council tax rises over a certain threshold, as is the case for councils in England. The national assembly for Wales still has the power to cap local authorities’ council tax rises selectively.

Last month, cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council announced a council tax hike of 4.99%, after receiving permission from Brokenshire to do so.

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