Most and Least Expensive Areas for Council Tax in the UK

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Searching for a new property? Here’s how council tax in your chosen location could affect monthly costs.

As the cost of living continues to grow, additional property expenses are increasingly in the spotlight. Google Trends data shows that in the first few months of 2022, searches relating to council tax are the highest they’ve been in five years. And it’s no wonder, virtually every single local council has increased annual council tax in the past year, with the average Band D property rising by around £67.

 

Areas with the highest council tax

County

Avg. monthly cost

Annual cost*

Rutland

£183

£2,195

East Sussex

£179

£2,144

Nottinghamshire

£178

£2,134

Durham

£173

£2,075

Devon

£172

£2,068

*Average Council Tax per annum for a Band D property

 

Areas with the lowest council tax

The most affordable areas for council tax are located in the home counties, while the most expensive can be found in the Midlands and South Coast. Places with the lowest council tax are:

County

Avg. monthly cost

Annual cost*

Greater London

£136

£1,633

West Midlands

£144

£1,730

Berkshire

£154

£1,847

Hampshire

£156

£1,867

Essex

£156

£1,870

*Average Council Tax per annum for a Band D property

 

London is the most affordable area to pay council tax in England

Despite being home to some of the most expensive properties in the UK, places like Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham have some of the lowest council tax rates in the country, primarily due to local councils gaining revenue from other sources, like parking charges or business rates. 

In places like Wandsworth, Band D council tax can be as little as £845 a year – only 38% of what residents of Nottingham, the most expensive local council, pay per year.

Although London boroughs have seen significant increases, the capital remains the least expensive place in England for council tax.

 

Wiltshire and Greater Manchester have seen the highest council tax increase

Last year London council tax increased more than anywhere else, but the story spread over the previous few years is quite different. Since 2015, council tax for the City of London has only increased by 11.2%, while Wiltshire and Greater Manchester have seen a 36.9% and 32.4% increase.

Meaning the average Londoner has paid an average of £1,461 per year since 2015, while those in Greater Manchester paid £1,727. This results in the average Londoner saving £2,128 in council tax since 2015 compared to the average Mancunian.

 

Which London borough will see the biggest council tax increase in 2022-2023

According to government figures, council tax will rise in the UK by an average of 3.5% in 2022-2023.

While this is a slight downturn on the average increase of 4% per year since 2015, it is still a significant rise considering the overall cost of living, and 22 of London’s 32 boroughs will see a price hike larger than the national average.  

London Borough

Current
council tax

Planned Council
Tax Increase

Avg. increase
2022-2023

Merton

£1,709

2.23%

£38

Enfield

£1,795

2.58%

£46

Barnet

£1,701

2.66%

£45

Hammersmith and Fulham

£1,196

2.67%

£32

Bromley

£1,692

2.67%

£45

Tower Hamlets

£1,477

2.92%

£43

Kingston upon Thames

£2,057

3.19%

£66

Wandsworth 

£845

3.21%

£27

Richmond upon Thames

£1,959

3.21%

£63

Hillingdon

£1,603

3.46%

£55

Kensington and Chelsea

£1,331

3.85%

£51

Harrow

£1,962

4.06%

£80

Havering

£1,893

4.10%

£78

Croydon

£1,888

4.11%

£78

Sutton

£1,857

4.12%

£77

Waltham Forest

£1,863

4.12%

£77

Bexley

£1,847

4.13%

£76

Haringey

£1,805

4.16%

£75

Redbridge

£1,789

4.17%

£75

Brent

£1,742

4.20%

£73

Lewisham

£1,744

4.20%

£73

Camden

£1,720

4.21%

£72

Barking and Dagenham

£1,713

4.22%

£72

Hounslow

£1,702

4.23%

£72

Ealing

£1,665

4.25%

£70

Islington

£1,640

4.27%

£70

Greenwich

£1,640

4.27%

£70

Hackney

£1,602

4.30%

£69

Lambeth

£1,592

4.31%

£69

Southwark

£1,528

4.37%

£67

City of Westminster

£829

4.40%

£36

Newham

£1,467

4.43%

£65

 

Three ways to reduce your council tax

There may be a few ways to manage your council tax more easily, depending on your circumstances.

  1. Spread the cost: annual council tax payments are typically spread across 10 months, but you can request to have it spread across 12 months, lowering the monthly repayments.
  2. Apply for a reduction: depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a discount on your council tax bill – apply here.
  3. Check your council tax band: if you think your property has been put into the wrong band, you can challenge it with your local council. Check your band here.

 

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