The beginning of April sees the first direct debit for Council tax for the new financial year, as well as the launch of the election campaign period. We will no doubt be hearing a lot from Conservative Councillors about how they have yet again managed not to increase Council Tax this year. Unfortunately that only applies to the part directly controlled by Elmbridge Borough Council. Most of your Council gets passed on to Conservative controlled Surrey County Council and – like last year – their part of your bill is going up by virtually 2%. The net effect is that your overall Council Tax bill this coming year will be higher by 1.74%.
At this time of year central Government also publishes tables showing how much Council Tax is levied by the 326 different authorities around the country, and this reveals how varied Council Tax bills can be. It probably will come as no surprise to you to read that Elmbridge has the highest average Council Tax per dwelling in the whole of the country at £1821 a year. That is the result of a high charge for a typical Band D property – Elmbridge’s average Band D charge of £1639 puts it in the top 15% in the country – combined with a high average value per property – we have large numbers of big expensive detached properties and few small cheap flats.
Another conclusion that can be drawn from the tables is that what you pay reflects the region you live in as much as the individual performance of your local authority in controlling their spending. For example, all 11 Boroughs and Districts in Surrey have a higher Band D charge than any of the 13 Inner London authorities. A different perspective on this is that the owner of a typical nice semi-detached house in Walton would probably see their house assessed as Band F. Their annual payment of £2366 would be higher than that paid on the most expensive multi-million pound mansion in Kensington and Chelsea at £2156. It certainly makes you think.
Cllr Chris Sadler