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Council Tax Rises 'May Increase Debt Difficulties'

Aug 18, 2007
The average council tax bill has almost doubled in the last ten years, the results of a new survey have revealed. According to research carried out by Halifax, the tax has risen by some 91 per cent since 1997.

With the typical bill now reported to be 1,078 pounds compared to 564 pounds in 1997-98, consumers could well find their attempts at debt management constrained. However, with growth in average earnings increasing by 51 per cent during this period - it is possible that higher council tax bills are impacting upon consumers' day-to-day finances and ability to make payments on personal loans, credit cards and other forms of borrowing.

Martin Ellis, chief economist for Halifax, said: "Council tax bills have increased significantly faster than either average earnings or retail prices over the past ten years.

"Bills diverge across the country. Growth rates over the last decade differ by a wide margin between billing authorities too."

During the same period, the price of services and the headline rate of the retail price index were reported to have risen by 44 and 31 per cent respectively.

Average area council tax charges have more than doubled since 1997 in 215 billing authorities in Great Britain.
Overall, some 53 per cent of local authorities were reported to have more than doubled council tax rates in the last ten years.

Those living in Richmond-upon-Thames may have the most difficulties paying off personal loans due to council taxes rises as the London borough is currently reported to have the highest bill in Britain at some 1,665 pounds - a rise of 106 per cent from 1997-98 levels.

West Dunbartonshire had seen the lowest increase with current rates standing at 920 pounds up by 21 per cent from the 761 pounds noted a decade ago.

Monmouthshire in Wales was said to have seen the highest increase in costs, with current up by 184 per cent from ten years ago to 1,130 pounds. However, it was noted that the revaluation of council tax structure in the principality that took place two years ago may have contributed to some "significant rises".

Overall, Wales and Yorkshire were reported to generally have the lowest levels of tax growth around the country, with price increases particularly being driven in the south-east and east of England.

Figures from the financial firm also indicated that 281 billing authorities - about 70 per cent of those surveyed - currently have a council tax bill of over 1,000 pounds, a figure which could impact upon many consumers' attempts at paying off debt consolidation loans.

Earlier this week, a study conducted by Sainsbury's Bank indicated that 2.8 million Britons suffer from 'money fear' and willfully ignore their financial situation - so avoiding to make payments on credit cards and personal loans. However, head of channels Kevin Barrett said that doing so will increase consumers' financial difficulties and a result they should create a budget. Meanwhile, those with multiple debts to pay off were advised to consider a debt consolidation loan.

Barrett said: "This can help reduce the amount of money you are paying each month and make the process of repaying your debts simpler."
About the Author
Abbi Rouse writes for 1 Stop Finance Shop, a one stop, Personal Loans Shop, and more information on bad credit loans and debt consolidation loans available on site.
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