How much could my council tax bill go up in 2024?

A council tax bill appears behind a picture of a typical street (images: Getty Images)

The average household in England is likely to see a council tax hike of £103 a year from April, Look After My Bills analysis of government proposals has found. In areas with cash-strapped councils, the increases could be even greater. In this article, we’ve examined all the details we have so far about likely council tax hikes.

It means April could once again be a painful month for many people across the UK. Council tax hikes will coincide with hefty mid-contract price rises for mobile and broadband bill payers. However, some of this extra financial pressure may be alleviated as energy bills are forecast to go down significantly from 1 April.

There is no way to get around council tax hikes. But it’s worth checking to see whether you’re in the correct council tax band, as hundreds of thousands of households could be overpaying. Local authorities do offer council tax reductions for particular groups of people, including discounts for single people and exemptions for student households. You may also be able to access cheaper council tax if you’re on a low income or a pensioner.

So, how much will your council tax go up by in April – and where could we see larger increases? Here’s everything we know so far.

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How much will my council tax go up by?

Councils are permitted to hike council tax and their social care precept once a year. These rises kick in every April. In England, the maximum amount by which they can increase the levy is normally determined by the UK government (or, if you live in Scotland or Wales, your devolved administration). Overall uplifts of 2% to 5% have become the norm in recent years.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is in the process of consulting on how much council tax should go up by for the 2024/25 financial year. It has provisionally said English local authorities can apply the following uplifts without facing a local referendum (ie, a vote on whether the proposed council tax hike can go ahead):

  • Up to 3% for core council tax (3% or £5 a week for shire district councils, whichever figure is highest)
  • An extra amount of up to 2% for councils with adult social care responsibilities

If these percentages are confirmed – and there’s a good chance they will be – they will mean a typical Band D property (the average household in England) will face a 5% council tax rise. This equates to an average increase of £103 a year (£1.98 a week) to £2,168. Our estimate is based on May 2023 government figures showing what a typical property pays. It comes after an average hike of 5.1% (£99) in 2023/24. In Scotland, average hikes for 2023/24 were more than 5%, while in Wales they were 5.5%.

So far, we know several English councils are seeking to raise council tax by the proposed maximum permitted amount from April 2024. These include Buckinghamshire Council, Dorset Council, Dudley Council and Suffolk County Council. We will update this article as soon as we have confirmation of the changes this spring.

If you live in Scotland, the devolved administration has announced a council tax freeze for 2024/25. So, your bill is likely to remain the same over the next year. The Welsh government has not set out any council tax limits, but has urged councils to keep hikes at a “reasonable level”.

Are any councils proposing larger hikes?

Councils can propose higher council tax increases in their annual budgets, which come into force every April. Those in financial difficulty are the most likely to do so. Whether or not they get to implement the hikes they set out depends on whether a majority of local councillors agree, and then whether voters also accept the changes.

Usually, going above the percentage increase thresholds set by the government will lead to a local referendum. So, you’ll get a vote on whether your local authority can raise council tax by the amount they want to.

But, the UK government occasionally allows councils to push through bigger hikes if they’re in especially dire financial straits. For example, households in Croydon had no say when their effectively bankrupt council was allowed to hike council tax by 15% in 2023.

The only confirmed ‘automatic’ hikes along these lines for 2024/25 could be seen at Slough Borough Council, Thurrock Council (both can raise council tax by up to 8%) and Woking Borough Council (up to 10%). These councils may not opt to go for the full increases. Cash-strapped Birmingham City Council is reportedly seeking to be added to this list.

Other stretched UK local authorities are proposing hikes that would trigger a referendum if they get voted through by their local councillors. Here are the ones we know about so far, and the hikes they’re proposing (note that Welsh local authorities do not have to conduct a local vote as the devolved administration has not set any limits for increases. But several are running consultations on their proposals):

If your council is on this list and you wish to vote on their council tax proposals, you should click the links we’ve provided to find out when your local referendum will be taking place. Given any council tax rise will come in from April, you may only have a few weeks to get involved.