People across England are due to see their council tax increase by around 5% across most local authorities at the start of April 2023. This is set to add to the struggles of households, who are already fighting against a cost of living crisis.
It was announced during Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement that councils would be able to increase tax by up to 5% without a vote or referendum. Since the announcement, plans have been finalised at local authorities up and down the country to skyrocket council tax at a time when inflation is already at a 40-year high.
Various boroughs in London are set to receive the biggest increase in council tax, with Croydon Council recently approving a controversial 15% hike. Councils across the rest of the country are largely sitting at around the 5% mark, but this does vary.
A council tax increase on top of soaring energy bills and the rising price of an average weekly grocery shop is financially restricting families.
Here is everything you need to know about the April council tax rise and how you can apply for support.
How to check how much council tax is going up by in your area
In order to find out how much council tax you will need to pay in April 2023, you must first know which council tax band you are in. All you need to do is enter your postcode on the government website, click on your address and you’ll find out which letter tax band (A-H) you have been assigned.
As tax bands represent the amount of money you will spend on council tax, you will then need to understand what your council tax code means. Visit the website of your local council, and if you do not know which local council you come under visit the finder on the government website.
How to apply for council tax support and eligibility criteria
If you need help paying council tax or feel that you pay too much and want a reduction, you can apply for support right now. To start, you must enter your postcode on the government website where it will give you a link to apply via the website of your local authority.
You could be eligible for council tax support or a council tax reduction if you are on low income or claim benefits, which could see your bill go down by up to 100%. Note that you can only apply if you own or rent your property, are unemployed or working.
The amount of council tax support you receive will be based on if you are:
- On a low income.
- A student or you live with students.
- Live alone or are the only adults in your home.
- Get certain benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.
- Or someone you live with has a disability and as a result needs to live in a larger home.
- Severely mentally impaired or living with someone who is.
- Live in certain counties in England and Wales and are a care leaver.
- A member of the armed forces, depending on your circumstances.
- Moved into a care home or hospital.
- In prison – unless serving time for failing to pay Council Tax
How council tax bands are calculated
According to the UK government, council tax band valuations are based on the value of the property at a specific point in time. In England, your council tax band is based on what its value would have been on April 1, 1991 - it is calculated differently in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
What months of the year do you not pay council tax?
Most councils in England allow you to choose to spread your council tax payments over 10 or 12 months. If you opt to pay in 10 instalments, you will not pay council tax in February and March - contact your local council for further details.