There have been significant concerns that it will be impossible to gauge where councils are spending the extra money leading to the cash raised being diverted away from its intended purpose.
Telegraph Money’s map above lets you search for your area to see how it compares to the rest of England on council tax. The main map is based on the average council tax bill and you can hover over an area to view a breakdown by band.
The data for this map was compiled by online estate agency Urban.co.uk.
Far from London being the most expensive area for council tax, the majority of the central boroughs are at the lower end of the spectrum.
The Conservative-led Westminster borough is the cheapest area for council tax in the whole of England, despite average property prices in the millions. A band H (the highest band) property in Westminster is charged just £1,345 annually for council tax.
At the other end of the spectrum, Lewes in East Sussex has the highest average council tax bill across all bands at £1,650.
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South of London in the commuter belt council tax is steep, and most regions north of Leeds also face high bills to fund local services.
The map above is based on a weighted average of the council tax bill for bands A to H. The weighting was applied using government data on the distribution of housing stock across the council tax bands from 2011.
The few areas coloured in grey are missing due to technical issues – the information will be available directly on your local authority’s website.
How council tax is calculated
Council tax is calculated based on the valuation band your property falls into and how much your local authority charges for that band.
The valuation bands are based on the price the property would have sold for in 1991.
According to Nationwide’s house price calculator, a property worth £260,000 in 2015 Q3 would have been worth £72,500 in 1991 Q1, placing the property in band D.
Council tax bands have been criticised heavily for being inaccurate. You can apply for a reassessment by the Valuation Office Agency if you feel your home is currently unfairly banded, but this is a risky move as your bill could go up or down depending on the outcome.
Take a look at MoneySavingExpert’s “check and challenge” system to help you decide, and make sure you check if your neighbours are paying the same as you to avoid putting your foot in it.
One street in Hull saw every resident face a bill rise after one occupant complained that their bill was higher than everyone else’s.
- Band A: Up to £40,000 (1991 price)
- Band B: £40,000 – £52,000 (1991 price)
- Band C: £52,000 – £68,000 (1991 price)
- Band D: £68,000 – £88,000 (1991 price)
- Band E: £88,000 – £120,000 (1991 price)
- Band F: £120,000 – £160,000 (1991 price)
- Band G: £160,000 – £320,000 (1991 price)
- Band H: More than £320,000 (1991 price)
Council tax exemptions and deductions
There are various ways in which you might qualify to pay reduced council tax – explore the full range of options available to you here on the Government’s website or with your local authority.
- Students: If you live in a house solely occupied by students in full time education, you can apply for complete council tax exemption. If you have a student living under your roof you can apply for a discount.
- Single occupancy: If you are the only adult in your main residence you can get 25pc off your bill.
- No adults: If nobody in the household counts as an adult, then you can get up to 50pc off the bill – this applies to under 25 year-olds getting Skills Funding Agency funding and many other groups.
- Disability: If you require a property larger than you otherwise would (you have to show an extra room or space is required) you can get a discount.
- Second homes: You can get up to 50pc off a furnished second home or holiday home.
- Low income: If you meet low income requirements you can apply for council tax reduction.
- Empty homes: The council can charge you up to 50pc extra if a home you own has been empty for more than two years, unless it’s an annexe or you’re in the armed forces.
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