Where council tax increases are putting the biggest squeeze on household finances

The latest analysis from estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, shows that the cost of council tax has climbed by as much as £145 in parts of the country, as yet another cost associated with our homes puts a squeeze on our household finances.

From groceries to utilities, the rising cost of living is causing financial instability for homeowners and renters across the country.

One of the most significant costs associated with our homes, other than our rent or mortgage, is council tax and Barrows and Forrester has looked at how this annual cost has changed and which areas have seen the largest increase.

At £1,493, the average household in England is now paying 4.5% more than they were last year – that’s an increase of £64.

The biggest percentage increase in the country has been seen in Ashford, Kent, where this annual cost has climbed by 9.1%. As a result, Ashford has also seen the largest monetary increase at £145, one of 18 areas of England where the annual cost of council tax has increased by more than £100.

Other areas to have seen this cost climb by more than £100 include Runnymede, Woking, Elmbridge, Bedford, Croydon, St Albans, Reigate and Banstead, Broxbourne, Mole Valley, Craven, Guildford, Mid Devon, Rutland, East Cambridgeshire, Watford, Waverley and South Oxfordshire.

In terms of the percentage increase versus last year, Manchester (8.7%), Bedford (8.1%), Salford (8.1%), Croydon (7.8%), Hyndburn (7.6%), Broxbourne (7.4%), Islington (7.4%), Runnymede (7.4%), Haringey (7.2%) are the areas to have seen the largest increase in council tax costs.

The smallest yearly increases have been seen in South Somerset (1.3%), Eden (1.5%), and Bristol (1.8%).

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

“It’s certainly shaping up to be a bleak year for many households with the increasing cost of living squeezing our finances on all sides, whether it be the price of petrol, our weekly food shop, energy prices or council tax.

There’s a very strong chance we will also see mortgage costs continue to climb as the year goes on, while the cost of renting also looks set to increase and this will put further strain on those that are already cutting back to the extreme in order to get by.

At the same time, wages have failed to keep pace and the Government has done little to help, with the most significant offering being a very marginal reduction in National Insurance which isn’t due to be implemented until July. For those really up against it, this meagre offering is likely to be far too little too late and we need to see more action being taken now to address this dire situation.”