Local government in England has greater control over council tax than it does over business rates, but these powers are subject to significant central control. The amount by which council tax can be increased each year is effectively capped by the requirement to hold a referendum on increases above a threshold set by central government, the revenues from the adult social care precept are hypothecated, and both tax bands and ratios of the main Band D rate are also centrally controlled.
The case for council tax reform has been made comprehensively and repeatedly for over a decade, including by the London Finance Commission (LFC) which included evidence, argument and proposals in its two detailed reports.
Links to LFC 1 and 2 .
More recently, London Councils has called on the government to reform council tax by ending capping and the Adult Social Care Precept, providing flexibilities to add Council Tax bands, and removing central prescriptions around Local Council Tax Support.
Council Tax Monitor
The Local Government Act 1992 requires billing authorities to complete and approve their budgets and set a council tax before 11 March each year, prior to the start of the financial year on 1 April. The deadline for precepting authorities is 1 March. Each year, London Councils collates information on Council Tax rates set by its member authorities and publishes them in its Council Tax Monitor. Current and historic Council Tax Monitors can be found using the links on the right-hand side. Please note that the Band D figures for some of the Boroughs may sometimes differ slightly from the figures quoted by the Boroughs, as the figures in the monitor does not include levies for garden squares or the Wimbledon & Putney Commons in the Band D averages.
Much is often made of London having the lowest Band D rates in England but, as the Institute for Fiscal Studies (2020) has pointed out, this reflects the varying distribution of properties across bands, with Band A covering the majority of properties in the North East but less than 4% across London. They also point out that average bills in London are similar to those in the rest of the country.