Cost of living crisis: Millions of households facing 5% council tax rise in April

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More than 100 councils across the country are planning a 5% hike in council tax as local authorities grapple with rising inflation and demand for social care services.

Millions of households across the country face an increase in their council tax as the cost of living crisis deepens. Data from the County Councils Network (CNN) indicates that three quarters of councils in England that have social care duties are planning a 5% price hike from April.

A 5% increase is the maximum permitted without a local vote and would be given the go ahead following an announcement at November’s autumn statement. The rise would see around £100 a year added to council tax bills for average Band D properties.

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The CCN analysed budget plans for 114 out of the 152 councils in England with responsibility for social care that have published details so far this year. It found 113 are planning to increase council tax, with 84 proposing a 5% rise from April and just one - Central Bedfordshire - keeping tax at its current rate.

The remaining 38 councils have not yet set out their plans. Croydon, Thurrock and Slough  councils have special permission to increase tax above 5% after effectively declaring bankruptcy.

The government has said councils should consider how a hike would put further money pressure on residents. It added  the amount local authorities will be able to spend next year will rise by £5.1bn - an average 9% rise.

Sam Corcoran, CCN’s vice-chairman, said demand for social care services paired with rising inflation meant councils were setting their budgets in "the most difficult circumstances in decades".

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Mr Corcoran, who is also the Labour leader of Cheshire East Council, added that despite pressures on residents, authorities had "little choice" but to put up council tax - with the alternative "drastic cuts to frontline services".

Some council leaders say the council tax system is unfair because it raises different amounts in different parts of the country. The system is currently subject to a review by Levelling Up Minister Lee Rowley.

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