Wigan council tax bills among lowest in the region

Wigan town hall
Wigan town hall

Wigan residents have one of the lowest council tax bills in the North West, figures reveal.

The Local Government Association says many councils feel they have “little choice” but to raise tax this year, to try and protect their local services from ongoing funding pressures.

But Wigan Council residents are paying less than most after several years of the amount paid to the local authority being frozen and only precepts going up.

Band D households in Wigan, the most common tax band, will pay £1,566 in 2019-20, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures, the lowest in the region.

That’s despite an increase of 2.2 per cent on last year’s levy, adding an extra £33 to the bill.

Wigan residents faced the highest rise last year, when the overall bill was hiked by 3.9 per cent – but that was mainly because of a social services precept rise.

And borough residents have a considerably lower bill than the rest of the region on average, where Band D households pay £1,828.

The town hall declined to comment as the authority is now in pre-local elections purdah.

But Coun Richard Watts, chairman of the LGA’s resources board, warned that council tax increases across the country will not prevent cuts to services.

He said: “With councils facing a funding gap of more than £3bn this year, council tax rises will not prevent the need for continued cutbacks to local services.

“If the Government fails to adequately fund local government as part of the spending review there is a real risk to the future financial viability of some services and councils.”

Shadow communities and local government secretary Andrew Gwynne said: “The Government has no answers to the dire situation facing our councils.

Tory austerity has devastated communities but instead of providing sustainable funding, this Government has shifted the pain onto council taxpayers.”

But local government minister Rishi Sunak said council tax in England was six per cent lower in real terms than when the Conservatives came into power in 2010.

He added: “Residents’ satisfaction with council services remains high, despite the need to pay off Labour’s record deficit.

“Up and down the country, it’s Conservative councillors and councils who have a proven record of managing taxpayers’ money wisely and providing better local services.

Across England, Westminster Band D households pay the lowest council tax at just £755, while Rutland tops the list at £2,043. The average bill is £1,750.