10-Year Council Tax surge

The average Council Tax bill in Britain has increased by a whopping 91% over the past decade, research from Halifax reveals.

Over the same period, the Retail Price Index has increased by just 31%, the price of services has gone up by 44% and average earnings have risen by 51%.

The average Council Tax per dwell-ing in Britain this year is £1,078 compared with £564 in 1997/98. Average Council Tax charges have more than doubled since 1997 in 215 billing authorities – 53% of the total.

Average Council Tax is highest in Richmond-upon-Thames. At £1,665, it is more than two and a half times higher than in Wandsworth, where the average Council Tax bill is the lowest in the country, at £641. Of the 30 areas with the lowest average Council Tax bills per dwelling, 11 are in Wales, five are in Scotland and four are in the West Midlands.

Regionally, average Council Tax bills per dwelling are highest in the South-East at £1,255 and the east of England at £1,184. Council Tax per dwelling is lowest in Wales at £871 and Yorkshire and The Humber at £959.

In 1997/98, no average area charges were more than £1,000 but this year 281 of the 408 billing authorities in Britain sent out average area Council Tax char-ges of more than £1,000.

Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax, says: “Council Tax bills have ris-en faster than average earnings and retail prices over the past 10 years. Also, Council Tax growth rates bet-ween billing authorities over the past decade differ by a wide margin.”