Council Tax hikes 2023/24: how some can cut their bill

Council Tax hikes 2023/24: how some can cut their bill

With many councils planning the maximum hikes allowed, we reveal some of the councils with the heftiest bills and explain how some homeowners might actually be able to cut their Council Tax.

lovemoney staff

Household money

lovemoney staff
Updated on 27 February 2023

Council Tax hikes: why most councils are increasing bills by the maximum

Around three quarters of councils are looking to increase Council Tax bills by the maximum-allowed 4.99% for the 2023/24 tax year.

That’s according to new research from County Councils Network (CCN), which has gone through the budget proposals of 114 councils, all of which are ‘upper tier councils’, meaning they have responsibility for providing social care.

It found that 114 out of 152 councils have published their budget proposals, and that all bar one plan on increasing Council Tax next year.

Of those, 84 have put forward plans to increase the bill by the maximum allowed, while three councils have special dispensation to propose increases of above that 4.99% cap.

The 30 councils putting forward a smaller increase have suggested varying increases, with the lowest at 2%.

With a 4.99% increase, the average Band D household will see their annual bill increase by £99 a year, which works out at around £1.91 more per week.

However, the CCN pointed out that there can be significant regional variances, noting that in rural county areas, the typical council tax bill will move to £2,149 on a 4.99% rise.

That’s 20% higher than the average bills faced by residents in London, for example.

Councils have defended the increases, stating that they have little alternative but to raise bills in this way in order to continue to deliver valued public services.

However, given the way household budgets are already stretched, the news of yet more increases to outgoings will not be welcomed.

Here are how some of the costliest areas for Council Tax shape up for the year ahead, based on the proposed increases, and for Band D properties:


Council Tax bill 2022/23

Council Tax bill 2023/24

Proposed change

































Council tax bands: why they matter

The Council Tax system was established in 1993 when every property was placed in a valuation band. It replaced the old rates system based on the rental value of homes.

In England and Scotland, the bands range from A to H, with A being the cheapest, and are based on valuations made in 1991.

In Wales, the bands range from A-I, with A again being the cheapest and are based on valuations made in April 2003.

So properties in England, Wales and Scotland haven't been revalued in a pretty long time.

That means you may have moved into a different band without realising it, and as a result, you could be forking out more for your Council Tax than you should be.

What are your neighbours paying?

To establish whether you should be in a different valuation band, it's worth finding out how much your neighbours pay for their Council Tax – you may find that even though they live in a similar or identical house, they're paying a lot less than you.

We’re not suggesting you go knocking on your neighbour's door to investigate (not unless you want to of course).

All you need to do is go to the Council Tax Valuation List. Just enter your details and you'll find all the information about which Council Tax band you and your neighbours are in. It's that simple.

How to appeal your Council Tax band

If you do find you're in a higher band than many of your neighbours, it's worth contacting your local valuation office and challenging your Council Tax band.

In some cases, you can make what's known as a proposal – in other words, a formal application to have your band changed. (Note this is for England and Wales only. Taxpayers in Scotland should visit the Scottish Assessors).

You'll get a decision within two months. Either you will be moved into a different band, with your payments adjusted, or you'll be told why your band cannot be changed. 

If you're successful with your claim, the great thing is you'll be entitled to a refund of your overpayments from when you moved into the property.

However, if your claim isn't successful, you can still appeal to an independent valuation tribunal. You can find more information on this here.

The tribunal is free, but you must appeal the valuation office's decision within three months of it making that decision.

Discounts and exemptions

Even if your home is in the correct valuation band, there are other ways to get a discount on your Council Tax. But before you get too excited, there are strict criteria for assessing whether you're eligible.

For example, you might get a reduction if you or someone in your household is disabled.

What's more, if you're the only adult living in your home, you'll get 25% off your bill. It's worth bearing in mind that when you're working out how many adults are in your home, certain people won't be counted – such as students, who do not have to pay Council Tax.

So if you're living with a student, you will only have to pay Council Tax based on one adult living in the home.

If you have a second or holiday home, you will still need to pay Council Tax for it. But you can get a discount of up to 50%. You'll need to contact your council to find out if you can get a discount, and exactly how much they are willing to offer.

In some cases, you won't have to pay Council Tax at all, whether this is only for a short period, or indefinitely.

For example, if you're selling an empty property on behalf of someone who has died, you won't have to pay Council Tax for six months from the day you get probate.

Other homes don't get a Council Tax bill for as long as they are empty.

They include homes of someone in prison, those who have moved into a care home or hospital or those that cannot be lived in by law as they are derelict.

If you have been carrying out major home improvements on an empty property or building a new property, then you will also be able to avoid Council Tax for a while.

You'll get a 'completion notice' from your council which will tell you the date you must start paying again.

Council Tax Reduction

Council Tax Reduction replaced Council Tax Benefit in April 2013. It could reduce your bill by as much as 100%.

You may be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Each council runs its own scheme, so the details vary by area.

What you get depends on things like your household income and how many children live with you.

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