Highest average council tax in England nears £2,000

The average council tax bill for some parts of England has reached almost £2,000.

In four local authorities, the average bill per household for 2016/17 will top £1,800 for the first time.

The highest figure in England is Elmbridge in Surrey, where the average council tax per dwelling is now £1,893.

The lowest is Wandsworth in London, where the average bill is just £622.

Council tax levels for English local authorities have been published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Many areas are seeing their biggest rise this decade, thanks to new rules that allow certain councils to increase bills by an additional 2% to help fund adult social care.

Along with Elmbridge, the councils with average bills now above £1,800 are South Bucks, Chiltern and Surrey Heath.

Runnymede in Surrey sees the largest rise in cash terms, up £96 on last year.

Other big increases include Liverpool (up £88), Wealden in East Sussex (£85) and Wiltshire (£84).

Just two areas will see the average cost of bills go down, both in London: Kensington & Chelsea (a fall of £1) and Hounslow (£6).

Responding to the announcement from the DCLG, Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: "Our historic four-year funding deal for councils both gives them certainty to plan ahead, and meets the clear request to prioritise care for elderly and vulnerable people, with a social care funding package of up to £3.5 billion.

"The figures show how councils are keeping council tax low, and using the freedom they asked for to set a social care precept as part of local bills.

"Even with this, council tax will still be lower in real terms in 2019/20 than in 2009/10 - and this year's increase is still lower than the average 6.2% annual increase between 1997 and 2010."

The average Band D council tax in England in 2016/17 is £1,530, an increase of £46 or 3.1% on last year.

This is the highest rise so far this decade. Last year the average increase was 1.1%

The biggest rise for Band D properties per type of council are:

:: County council: Kent - 4.00%

:: Metropolitan councils: Birmingham - 4.65%

:: Unitary authorities: Cornwall - 4.84%

:: District councils: Pendle - 9.32%

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