New data shows Bucks residents pay above average council tax rates

Residents in Bucks are paying above the average rate for council tax in England, new data reveals.

By James Lowson
Monday, 9th May 2022, 10:21 am

An exclusive study compiled by National World, shows that people in Band D households in Bucks pay 5% above the average in England.

National World has crunched figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to discover that Band D households in Bucks pay £102.61 at the current rate, the average in England is 5.1% lower.

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New pound coins on a council tax bill, photo by Shaun Wilkinson

When compared to other unitary authorities in England, people in Band D households are paying 1.7% more than the English average.

Bucks Council is also set to increase the current council tax rates for Band D households at an above average clip.

New data shows that under the new agreements council tax for these homes will increase by 4.3%, the average rate in England for the 2022-23 year is 3.5%.

The average increase for unitary authorities in the UK is marginally lower at 3.3%.

In response Bucks Council Leader Martin Tett told The Bucks Herald: “Every council area is different, with its own unique characteristics and challenges.

"Here in Buckinghamshire we set council tax rates as part of our overall budget setting process, where we prioritise spend on critical services such as social care as well as the spending priorities residents have asked us for in our budget consultation.

“Councils were given an option in 2021/22 whether to apply the full allowable 3% adult social care precept increase in one go or spread the rise over two years. We did the latter but councils who didn’t will have shown a sharper council tax rise last year and a lower rise as a result this year – it makes it more complicated to draw comparisons by viewing one year in isolation.

“In Buckinghamshire, 82% of the cost of providing critical services like social care and bin collection is now funded by council tax.

"With social care costs alone in Buckinghamshire anticipated to be around £300 million in this financial year, we have to make difficult choices to budget for such huge sums.

“Every area will have its own budget and associated pressures and will be making different funding decisions based on projected income and outgoings.”

The council says it increased the base rate of council tax by 1.99%, While raising the social care precept by 2% even though the costs of providing these services has risen by 5%.

Overall, the council announced it was raising tax by 3.99% with funding going towards town and parish councils, plus police and fire services making up the rest of the rise.

A Bucks Council spokesman added: “We know everyone is feeling the pinch from the rise in costs and bills and in Buckinghamshire we’ve set up a mechanism to already be paying the national council tax rebates to help ease the burden, while residents in some parts of the country are facing delays to these payments.

"We have also chosen to use the government’s Household Support Scheme to provide additional help to other homeowners in Bands E-H, plus we are providing a £25 ‘top up’ payment to qualifying residents under our Helping Hand initiative, to try to help as many households as possible in Buckinghamshire in the face of the increase in living costs across the board.”