Local elections: Party claims council tax £300 lower in Labour councils than Tory

Katie Neame

Council tax in Labour-run local authorities will be almost £300 less on average over the next year than in Tory areas, according to new Labour Party analysis released following the launch of its 2024 local elections campaign.

According to the opposition party’s research, Tory councils have set their council tax at an average of £1,771 for 2024/25, while in Labour-led authorities, the average figure is £1,495, or £276 less.

The release of the party’s analysis – which is based on data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – follows the launch of its local elections campaign in Dudley on Thursday morning, during which Keir Starmer described rising levels of council tax as a “new Tory stealth tax coming soon to your letterbox”.

Commenting on Labour’s new analysis, Shadow Levelling Up Secretary Angela Rayner said: “Working people continue to be punished by 14 years of Tory economic failure through soaring food prices and rocketing mortgages. Any blame for a rise in council tax lies squarely with the Conservative government.

“The proof is in the pudding – even in the face of Tory economic mismanagement nationally, Labour leaves the public with more pounds in their pocket. Under a Conservative government, people are simply paying more and getting less. Families just can’t afford another five years of the Tories.

“While Rishi Sunak runs scared from a general election, the local elections give communities the chance to send him a message: the Tories’ time is up. A vote for Labour on 2nd May offers communities a chance for change.”

Research from the Resolution Foundation think tank, also published today, found that council tax is “going up a lot for almost everyone in England and Wales” and calculated that the council tax take as a proportion of GDP will hit a record high in 2024/25 (excluding the Covid period) of 1.7%.

The think tank projects that it will continue to rise to 1.8% in the next parliament, noting in its analysis: “We’re becoming more reliant on a tax that is chronically unfair (e.g. lowest in the richest parts of the country) and way out of date – council tax is still based on valuations from 33 years ago.”

Starmer launched Labour’s local elections campaign on Thursday alongside Rayner and the party’s candidate in the West Midlands mayoral contest, Richard Parker. The Labour leader told attendees at the event that “the path to changing Britain – to national renewal – starts and begins here”.

“We’re not playing for a draw. We’re looking to win in Dudley, looking to win in the West Midlands, right across the country: from Hastings to Hartlepool, a changed Labour Party. On the march, on your side, returned to the service of working people,” he added.

Starmer said he had been “hoping we’d be launching a different election campaign here today”, accusing the Prime Minister of having “bottled it” by not calling a general election in May.

“We need to send him another message. Show his party once again that their time is up, the dithering must stop, the date must be set. Britain wants change, and it’s time for change with Labour,” the Labour leader declared.

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