April 1: council tax increases in Hertfordshire as the new financial year arrives

The Hertfordshire County Council logo

The Hertfordshire County Council logo - Credit: Archant

From today, households across England are facing the biggest council tax increases this decade, with annual bills for the average property looking to climb to £54.

The rise of 3.6 per cent in 2016-17 outside the Capital, such as Herts, comes as councils look to cover the ever-climbing cost of social care and other services.

Many councils outside of London are jumping on the 1.99 per cent maximum increase permitted without a local referendum, as well as the 2 per cent directive from Chancellor George Osborne given to authorities providing adult social care.

In 2011-12 council tax in England was frozen at the previous year’s rate, in 2012-13 the average rise was 0.3 per cent, in 2013-14 it was 0.8 per cent, in 2014-15 it was 0.9 per cent and in 2015-16 it was 1.1 per cent.

The Local Government Authority have stated that “many councils feel they have no choice left” but to raise bills and that “the quality and quantity of services on offer could drop, as the income will not be enough to offset the full impact of further funding reductions next year”.

The introduction of the National Living Wage will also create a “ significant further cost pressure” for councils, the LGA warned.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “Our historic four-year funding deal for councils both gives them certainty to plan ahead, and meets the clear request to prioritise care for our elderly population with a £3.5 billion social care funding package.

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“It means councils have the freedom to set a social care precept as part of local bills, with excessive council tax increases still subject to local referendum to protect council taxpayers.

“Even with these changes, council tax will still be lower in real terms in 2019/20 than in 2009/10 - and this year’s increase will still be lower than the average 6.2% annual increase between 1997 and 2010.”

Taxpayers in the Capital will be spared the worst hikes, with bills for average Band D homes in Greater London expected to increase on average by just 0.6% or £8.04.