THE owners of multi-million-pound homes in Westminster pay less council tax than residents on Middlesbrough’s Acklam Road whose homes fall into Band C or higher.

Westminster Council, which covers parts of Mayfair, has the lowest council tax rates in the country meaning that even the most expensive properties, classed as Band H, are required to pay £1,655.12.

Whereas, people who live on Middlesbrough’s Acklam Road whose houses fall into Band C will need to pay £1,869.48 – more than £200 a year more than wealthy Londoners.

Therefore, the new owners of the mansion at 21 Upper Grosvenor Street, a Band H property in the Westminster borough on the market for £54.5m, will pay less council tax than many Middlesbrough residents.

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For those living on Essex Street in Ayresome, where houses sell for an average of £54,000 and they are classed as Band A, people who pay the full amount of council tax will spend £1,402.11 a year – that is just £253 less than the owners of the wealthiest properties in Westminster.

Middlesbrough has the highest council tax rates across Teesside – for a Band D property people have to pay £2,103.17, in Stockon, people in areas without a parish council pay £2,061.04 and in Redcar and Cleveland residents in areas without parish councils pay £2,051.92.

There are a number of reasons why council tax is so much higher in Middlesbrough than in Westminster.

One of the key issues is that the majority of properties in Middlesbrough are towards the lower two bands so the council cannot rely on a lot of higher contributions from areas with more expensive properties.

It is hoping that proposed housing developments in Acklam, where properties will be in higher council tax bands, will ensure more income for the council.

Middlesbrough Council has also struggled to collect council tax in the past though that is improving.

In the 2019/20 financial year, £5.8m of council tax was not collected, however, in 2020/21 Middlesbrough was ranked as the fourth-best for improved in terms of the amount of council tax collected.

However, the council has stated that the end of the furlough scheme could mean that more people will be eligible to apply for a discount meaning a reduction in revenue.

Nearly half of Middlesbrough is made up of the most deprived areas in England, meaning that the council has to spend more on services than affluent areas and one of the ways it funds this is through council tax.

Furthermore, areas like Westminster make a lot of their income through business rates, due to a large amount of commercial activity in the area.

Whereas Middlesbrough is currently struggling with this as an increasing number of shops close, which has been worsened by the Covid pandemic – currently around 17.8% of shops are vacant in Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough Council has been contacted for comment.

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