TWO North-East areas have some of the most expensive council tax in the UK. 

Based on Band D council tax for two people, Hartlepool and Durham are the sixth and eighth most expensive in the UK according to Government data for 2020/21.

The council tax system and calculations based on the value of homes on April 1, 1991 mean tax levels differ everywhere, but residents in Durham and across Teesside pay around £2,000 per year. 

Council tax pays for local services such as transport, emergency services, libraries and rubbish collection and disposal.

Two people living in a Band D property in Hartlepool pay £2,092 a year, the most expensive in the region, while those in Durham pay £2,071.

Darlington has the cheapest council tax at £1,892, slightly higher than the national average at £1,818.

The figures include precepts for police, fire and parishes, which is the amount a household pays through council tax for emergency services and parish councils.

If an area does not have a parish, tax can be cheaper. The town or parish council set their own budgets and this is collected on their behalf by the local authority.

Annual council tax based on a Band D home with two people: 

  • Durham: £2,071
  • Darlington: £1,892
  • Redcar & Cleveland: £1,995
  • Stockton-on-Tees: £2,006
  • Middlesbrough: £2,050
  • Hartlepool: £2,092

Those in rural areas pay a lot more council tax than those in cities, with Rutland, the UK’s smallest county and home to just 40,000 people, paying the highest overall at £2,125 for a band D property.

This was followed by Nottingham and Dorest, both of which pay £2,119, and Lewes in East Sussex, at £2,111.

However, Paul Darby, Durham County Council’s head of finance and transactional services, says comparing Band D council tax figures can be misleading and that 83.6 per cent of county residents pay less than the Band D figure.

The authority also says average council tax in County Durham is below the national average and that it is in the bottom 25 per cent nationally in terms of highest charging councils.

Mr Darby said: “Focusing on Band D council tax figures can be a misleading way of comparing council tax levels.

"and D is the figure from which councils establish how much people living in all properties pay and a number of factors are considered when agreeing council tax, including the overall number of properties, how many are in each band and how much an authority needs to raise through council tax.

"reas with a greater number of higher banded properties can raise more in council tax and this is reflected in the council tax levels for each band. 

“In reality 83.6 per cent of people in County Durham pay less than the Band D figure with 57.4 per cent living in the lowest Band A properties, who pay six ninths of the Band D amount.

“Overall households in County Durham pay an average of £1,224 in council tax – below the national average of £1,385. We are also in the bottom 25 per cent of local authorities nationally in terms of highest council tax, ranking 242nd out of 314.”

Council Tax valuations are based on the value of properties and assessments are made on a number of factors, such as a property’s size, layout, character, location, change in use and value on April 1, 1991 (England) or April 1, 2003 (Wales).

A breakdown of what precepts are included can often be found on a council's website.