Revealed: how Greater Manchester council tax bills have soared above inflation since 2015-16

We’ve been looking at what has been happening to council tax bills across Greater Manchester in recent years.
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Council tax bills in most parts of Greater Manchester have increased by more than double the rate of inflation since 2015-16, data has shown.

ManchesterWorld has teamed up with our sister title NationalWorld to look at how much council tax has been rising in the city-region.

Councils have been feeling the squeeze since 2010 as central government cuts and an austerity approach to public finances have combined with an ageing population needing more support and money, particularly for social care.

We’ve taken a look at how council tax rates across the borough compare to other similar local authorities, to the England average and to inflation.

How do council tax bills in Greater Manchester compare to other parts of the country?

Across Greater Manchester council tax for Band D properties is above the national average in six boroughs and below it in four.

The biggest disparity is in Wigan, where Band D tax is £224.31 below the national average and £218.85 under the average for similar town halls.

Wigan residents also enjoy Greater Manchester’s cheapest Band D council tax, at £1,741.39.

The other three with Band D council tax below the national average are Bolton, Manchester and Trafford.

The most expensive Band D council tax is in Stockport, at £2,142.40.

This is £176.70 above the national average and £182.16 more than residents in similar councils typically pay.

How much has council tax risen compared to inflation?

All Greater Manchester boroughs bar one saw a percentage rise in council tax which is more than double the rate of inflation between 2015-16 and 2021-22.

The rate of inflation change in that time was 13.1%.

And the only borough where council tax rises was not at least twice that was Wigan, which had an increase of 19.6%.

There were rises of 26.6% in Bolton, 26.8% in Oldham and 28.1% in Stockport.

Residents in Manchester saw bills go up by 30.6%, while the increases were 30.8% in Trafford, 31.2% in Salford, 32.2% in both Bury and Rochdale and 32.6% in Tameside.

How have recent council tax rises compared to other parts of the country?

Council tax bills in Greater Manchester more or less rose in line with other parts of the country when the most recent ones for 2022-23 were worked out.

The average rise from 2021-22 to 2022-23 for all 10 of the city-region’s town halls was 3.6%, while the England average increase as a whole was 3.5%.

The biggest outliers in Greater Manchester were Salford and Oldham, where Band D properties had a 4.5% increase.

Bills for these properties went up by 4% in Stockport, while in Bolton it was 3.8% and residents in Manchester, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan all have to pay 3.7% more.

Band D council tax rose exactly at the level typically expected for similar local authorities in Bury and Rochdale.

The data for all this analysis covers the average amount paid by a household in that borough, including parish precepts and police and fire levies.

What is council tax and how is it set?

Council tax is a system of local taxation linked to the value of properties. It is one of the main sources of funding for local authorities, which provide services including education, housing, social care, sports and leisure facilities, public health, arts and culture and road maintenance.

In England properties are placed into one of eight bands from A (which have the cheapest council tax) to H (which have the most expensive). This is based on their historical value, which is the price in 1991.

Councils and other authorities funded by council tax, such as police and fire services then set the fees that they charge for each band as well.