This blog will answer the question “Will council tax be frozen ?” It will mainly cover whether council tax is frozen for the financial year 2021-22 and if yes then where. It will also discuss certain past instances when council tax was frozen. Through all that, it will explain the meaning and reasons behind the freezing of council tax and such related topics.

Will council tax be frozen?

Yes, it was decided that council tax will be frozen in Scotland. Almost all the local councils of Scotland decided to freeze the council tax for the year 2021-22. Although there was almost no council tax frozen anywhere else in England.

Also, it does not appear so far that council tax will further be frozen for the financial year 2022-23 by any local council anywhere across the UK.

Meaning of freeze

To freeze something here means no further change, being stable at that value. Freezing council tax means no increase in the amount of Council Tax to be paid by individual taxpayers, as measured by the Band D Council Tax in any area.

Council tax freeze in Scotland

All Scottish councils, except Glasgow, have agreed for council tax to be frozen for the financial year 2021-22. As an incentive for the freeze, all these local councils which opted to freeze council tax are promised by the Finance Secretary of the Scottish Government that the government will give them an equivalent of a 3% rise in taxes.

Setting out Scotland’s Budget for the next financial year yesterday, Kate Forbes also announced the government would use Covid business rates reliefs returned by supermarkets and other companies whose income has not been affected by the pandemic to provide a boost to harder hit sectors, including leisure, hospitality and aviation.

The returned cash will be used to fund 100% rate relief for three months for eligible businesses.

Contrarily, in England, the government raised the council tax for 2021-22 by about 5%. Through this, it expects the local councils to raise an additional £1.9bnwe5

The Scottish government kept their promise for the council tax to be frozen. All of Scotland’s council taxpayers have benefited from this council tax freeze. It has provided a much needed financial relief, specifically to vulnerable groups such as pensioners.

This council tax freeze has added up to council tax to be frozen for nine consecutive years. Conversely, during this period, council tax has increased by 12% in England and 32% under Labour in Wales.

To enable this freeze, Scotland’s local authorities have received an extra £70 million per annum from the Scottish government since 2008-09, which is, if not more than, adequate funding to compensate the councils.

News for different local councils

The following section discusses certain local councils’ announcements for the council tax to be frozen for the upcoming year.

South Ribble Borough council

South Ribble Borough Council in February, approved the 2021/22 budget for council tax to be frozen. The council reasoned this freeze was a result of the pandemic and its impact on budget and income.

It also clarified that this council tax freeze shall not have any detrimental impact on council services and the funding of other vital projects across the borough shall continue.

East Suffolk Council 

The East Suffolk council also did not observe any increase in the council tax for the year 2021-22 as a response to the challenges faced by local communities during the covid pandemic.

The budget for the East Suffolk Council was approved by Cabinet in February. It saw an overall expenditure of £129 million for delivering essential services across 57 different service areas. 

The Council’s overall budget consists of contributions from council tax, business rates as well as central government grant schemes. The Council tax contributions account for £14.95 million of the overall budget.

The additional financial challenge due to Covid-19 has been somewhat conched by the reserves – supporting residents while being financially stable.

Since it was the residents who suffered more than the council from the financial instability, therefore, the East Suffolk council invited the residents and businesses to comment on the budget and spending priorities of the council, and ensure that it reflected their needs.

Basildon Council

The Basildon council’s leader announced that even though the year has been financially tough for the council, it has been tougher for the residents. Therefore, the council did not find it fair to recoup the council’s loss through residents by increasing the council tax. Hence, it froze the council tax and commercialised more of their services, reducing spending in areas not so much needed.

Renfrewshire Council 

The councillors of Renfrewshire council agreed to a budget that delivers a Council Tax freeze and helps everyone in the area recover from the profound impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. This was made through budget prioritising, capital investment programmes, budgets to tackle inequalities, poverty etc.

Council tax Band D charge for all Scotland Local authorities

Since the council tax for almost all the local councils has been frozen for 2021-22, there has been no change in the council tax charges for the year.

 The price of council tax for a Band D property in each council area is as follows:

  • £1,377.30 in Aberdeen City
  • £1,300.81 in Aberdeenshire
  • £1,206.54 in Angus 
  • £1,367.73 in Argyll and Bute
  • £1,304.63 in Clackmannanshire
  • £1,222.63 in Dumfries and Galloway
  • £1,379.00  in Dundee
  • £1,375.35 in East Ayrshire
  • £1,308.98 in East Dunbartonshire
  • £1,302.62 in East Lothian
  • £1,289.96 in East Renfrewshire
  • £1,338.59 in Edinburgh
  • £1,225.58 in Falkirk
  • £1,280.80 in Fife
  • £1834.11 in Glasgow 
  • £1332.33 in Highland
  • £1,331.84 in Inverclyde
  • £1409.00 in Midlothian
  • £1,322.87 in Moray
  • £1,342.69 in North Ayrshire
  • £1,221.24 in North Lanarkshire
  • £1,208.48 in the Orkney Islands
  • £1,318.10 in Perth and Kinross
  • £1,315.42 in Renfrewshire
  • £1,253.91 in Scottish Borders
  • £1,206.33 in Shetland
  • £1,344.96 in South Ayrshire
  • £1,203.09 in South Lanarkshire
  • £1,344.96 in Stirling
  • £1,293.54 in West Dunbartonshire
  • £1,193.50 in the Western Isles
  • £1,276.42 in West Lothian

Reasons behind the freeze

The primary reason beyond the council tax being frozen for the year 2021-22 is the covid pandemic.

The Budget for the year aimed to strike “the right balance between raising the revenue required to fund public services and to support the economic recovery through targeted interventions”.

Local councils were provided with £90m on top of their settlement of £11.6bn to freeze the council tax. It ensured that neither council tax bills went up nor was there any impact on vital local services.

Additional projects along with freezes

The approved budget along with providing funds for council tax to be frozen has also allotted funding for ambitious key projects which will see several improvements to the borough.

These improvements include the following :

•    A new extra care facility having high-quality accommodation to allow people to live longer safely at home

•    Neighbourhood improvement projects that include improvements to play areas and open spaces

•    Development of a Credit Union for residents to access safe and ethical banking options

•    Support for schools in allowing children to access technology and equipment for remote learning

•    Continuation of Holiday Hunger scheme to provide families access to food during school holidays

•    Creation of community hubs to support local neighbourhoods and provide services to them

•    Investment in leisure centres

•    Providing council housing across numerous sites in the borough

•    Continued support for communities and businesses through the pandemic and beyond

Past and present council tax freezes in the UK

Besides this, the council tax has been frozen several times in the past. Those instances are mentioned here.

2012-13 freeze scheme 

The council tax was frozen in 2012-13 to help families and pensioners in difficult times. Council tax was frozen to provide help to hard-pressed families in difficult times. Local authorities who freeze or reduced their Council Tax from 2012 to 2013 were given an incentive to receive additional funding to help pay for the freeze.

Cost of the freeze

The government set aside a total of £805 million to compensate for this council tax freeze scheme. This money was to help for the current year’s freeze as well as for the next year’s.

The 2013-14 council tax freeze scheme

There was another council tax freeze in effect in 2013-14, where the Coalition Government made up to £450 million of funding available to English local authorities to freeze or reduce their basic amount of council tax in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

This freeze was offered to help hard-pressed families with their cost of living.

Wigan 7-year council tax freeze

A seven-year freeze on council tax for households was effectuated in Wigan at the end of April.

People living in Band A properties, the most common council tax band in the borough, would pay an extra £41.67 after the seven-year freeze came to an end finally.

Wandsworth council tax freeze

Wandsworth Council is the only local authority in London to freeze its general share of council tax bills for the year 2021-22.

All the borough’s 60 councillors in a meeting agreed that the general element of Wandsworth’s bills would be frozen for another year.

Councillors also approved for an increase in the money available to support social care. Even with an extra charge, Wandsworth is still the council with one of the lowest council tax bills in the country.

Years of sensible financial management has placed the Wandsworth council in the unique position of being able to freeze their share of the general council tax charge for the next financial year.

The only increase in the borough’s council tax package was a 3%  increase in funding for social care, which is necessary to protect the vital services for the elderly, disabled or vulnerable residents.

Conclusion 

This blog answered the question “Will council tax be frozen ?” It mainly covered whether council tax is frozen for the financial year 2021-22 and if yes then where. It also discussed certain past instances when council tax had been frozen. Through all that, it explained the meaning and reasons behind the freezing of council tax, and such related topics.

FAQs

Is council tax frozen in Scotland 2021?

Yes, all the 32 local authorities in Scotland chose to freeze the council tax after the commitment from the Scottish government to compensate the authorities for freezing their council tax.

Is council tax going up in 2021?

Throughout Scotland, most increase in council tax has been concerning the adult social. The rest of the areas where council tax went up was as is the normal increase per year.

Is council tax on hold in Scotland?

Yes, it can be said that council tax is on hold in Scotland because the local authorities have frozen their council tax for the current financial year.

Which Scottish council has the highest council tax?

All the data throughout shows that the Argyll and Bute council has the highest council tax.

Who pays the highest council tax in the UK?

The top 3 contenders for the highest council taxpayers in the UK are Blaenau Gwent, Kingston-upon-Thames and Merthyr Tydfil.

Citation

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-56320853
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-56320853
https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/19348729.argyll-bute-western-isles-best-worst-council-tax-deals-scotland/
https://www.southend.gov.uk/council-tax/calculation-percentage-increase-202021-council-tax
https://www.scotborders.gov.uk/news/article/4015/council_tax_freeze_agreed
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-of-the-council-tax-freeze
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/71262/130129_Letter-CouncilTaxFreeze-leaders-Jan2013.pdf
https://www.southribble.gov.uk/article/1891/Council-Tax-freeze-as-budget-for-2021-22-is-approved
https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/news/council-tax-freeze-to-further-support-residents/
https://www.basildon.gov.uk/article/8397/In-the-news-Proposal-for-Council-Tax-to-be-frozen-for-the-second-consecutive-year-announced-by-Leader-of-Basildon-Council
https://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/article/11338/Council-tax-freeze-as-budget-supports-recovery-from-pandemic
https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/news-march-2021/wandsworth-stands-alone-in-freezing-its-share-of-council-tax-bills/
https://www.newham.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/council-tax-benefits-welfare
https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk-news/council-tax-scotland-2021-how-much-scottish-councils-are-charging-this-year-following-freeze-agreement-3162441
https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/wigan-council-tax-rise-leader-19993300
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/council-tax-freeze-scheme

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?