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101% increase in council tax in Scotland

Bank of Scotland calculates that the average council tax bill in Scotland has increased by 101% since the introduction of the tax in April 1993.

This is significantly higher than the 36% rise in the headline rate of the Retail Price Index and the 49% increase in the price of services over the same period.

The increase in the average council tax bill per dwelling is also larger than the 88% rise in Scottish house prices over the period Q2 1993 to Q2 2005.

The average council tax per dwelling (exclusive of discounts and subsidies) in Scotland is 925 for 2005-06. In England it is 1,009, an increase of 121% since 1993-94. In Wales the average council tax bill per dwelling is 790, 186% higher than in 1993-94.

Across Scotland’s local authorities there is significant divergence in the average council tax bill per dwelling. Average council tax is highest in East Dunbartonshire at 1,176 pa. It is 73% higher than in the Western Isles, the area with the lowest average council tax bill in Scotland at 681.

In Scotland the biggest increase in the average council tax bill since 1996-97 has been in the Shetland Islands (119%). The smallest increase in council tax since April 1996 has been in West Dunbartonshire and the City of Edinburgh – both 38%.

These are the only billing authorities in Scotland where average council tax charges have not risen by more than 40% since April 1996.

Since April 1996, the average council tax charges per dwelling in Scotland have risen by more than 75% in the case of six out of 32 billing authorities.

The highest increases have been in the Shetland Islands (119%) and the Orkney Islands 101%. However, both areas have average council tax bills that are below the average for Scotland of 925.

In monetary terms, eight out of 32 areas in Scotland have seen an increase in average council tax charges per dwelling in excess of 400 since 1996-97.
The increase has been largest in Stirling (492), East Renfrewshire (481) and Aberdeenshire (479).

The cities of Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow feature amongst the 10 local authorities with the smallest increase in average council tax bills in Scotland. However, council tax bills in the City of Edinburgh, at 1,044, are above the Scottish average of 925.

Three quarters of authorities in Scotland (24 of the 32) have sent out an average council tax charge per dwelling of under 1,000 for the current tax year (2005-06). This compares with 41% of billing authorities in England (145 out of 354) and 95% of authorities in Wales (21 of the 22) that have sent out average area bills for less than 1,000.

Across Great Britain the average council tax bill per dwelling is highest in the South East (1,147) and the East of England (1,079). Council tax per dwelling is lowest in Wales (790) and Yorkshire & the Humber (876).

The average council tax per dwelling is lower than the Band D council tax charge because more dwellings are in the lowest three property valuation bands – Bands A to C 64% in total in Scotland, 66% in England and 59% in Wales.

Council tax in Scotland has increased by 97% for a standard band D property over the period 1993-94 to 2005-06. This is more moderate than the increases seen in England (114%) and Wales (181%) over the same period.

While Wales has seen the largest percentage increase since 1993-94, the average bill for a band D property, there (921) remains lower than in Scotland (1,094) and England (1,214).

Martin Ellis, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, says: “Council tax bills have grown more quickly than inflation in Scotland. Bills diverge significantly across the country in some cases by more than one third and growth rates have also differed by a wide margin between local authorities.”

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