NOTE: The original version of this research paper stated that Nottingham had increased its council tax in cash terms more than any other English local authority since 1993. This has now been corrected.
Council tax – the tax on domestic property in England, Scotland and Wales – was introduced under the Local Government Act 1992 and first levied in 1993. In the subsequent 30 years, councils across the country have steadily increased the amount of council tax they charge residents to provide services.
This report analyses the level of annual band D council tax across all English councils over the past 30 years, highlighting the best and worst performing local authorities for taxpayers.
- On introduction in 1993-94 the average annual band D council tax bill in England was £568. Thirty years later the average level for 2023-24 is £2,065 which, after adjusting for inflation, is a real terms increase of 79 per cent.
- The residents of Rutland pay the highest 2023-24 band D council tax in England at £2,422.
- The lowest 2023-24 band D council tax in England is paid by residents of Westminster at £914.
Huntingdonshire council has increased its council tax in real terms by 149 per cent since 1993, more than any other local authority.
Rutland increased its council tax in cash terms more than any other English local authority since 1993, by £1,904 from £518 to £2,422.
Wandsworth has increased its council tax less in real terms than any other local authority since 1993, at just 1 per cent.
- Over the past 30 years 244 councils (57 per cent of the total) have never decreased their level of council tax.
- From 1993-94 up to 2023-24, there were 9,462 individual council tax increases, compared to 404 freezes and just 363 cuts.