County Durham residents are paying some of the highest council tax rates in the country. 

New figures based on the average bill for a Band D property show Durham County Council has the tenth highest average level of council tax in England for 2024/25.

The data has been published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities and includes the adult social care levy and parish precepts where appropriate.

Households that fall under the Band D category have been billed an average rate of £2,044.83 - a five per cent rise on the previous year. 

Residents have recently received their new bills for the year ahead. People living in all local authorities in England also pay additional charges as part of their council tax bill, which are levied by police and crime commissioners, fire and rescue services, and – in some areas – combined regional authorities.

Gateshead and Northumberland have the highest average council tax rates in the North East, and the second and third highest respectively in England. 

But Durham County Council played down the figures, saying the majority of properties in County Durham are between Band A to C, meaning residents pay less. It added that the authority is among the lowest 25 per cent across the country for the average council tax in the region.

There is also a higher number of town and parish councils in County Durham compared to others, which contributes to the higher rate. Residents in Stanley have seen the town council precept increase by 12.5 per cent - a monthly rise of 79p for those in Band A properties - so the authority can continue to deliver services and events. 

Cllr Richard Bell, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “Ranking Band D council tax charges is a flawed comparison, especially in an area like County Durham where two thirds of council taxpayers live in properties in bands A to C.

“When you look at what the average household in County Durham is actually charged, it shows the annual charge to the average council taxpayer in the county is £208 a year lower than the national average. This puts us among the lowest 25 percent of all local councils in the country."

Rising costs and increased demand means the council is forced into difficult decisions.

“Like the vast majority of councils, this has left us with little choice but to increase council tax charges for the coming year,” Cllr Bell added. 

“We have consistently lobbied the Government and the leadership of all the main political parties asking for a fundamental review of the system of financing councils and will continue to do so.”

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Highest average council taxes in England 

Name of local authority; average Band D council tax in 2024/25; percentage change on 2023/24.

Rutland (Unitary authority): £2,175.41 5.14%

Gateshead (Metropolitan borough): £2,174.00 4.99%

Northumberland (Unitary authority): £2,173.47 4.55%

Nottingham (Unitary authority): £2,155.33 4.99%

Dorset (Unitary authority): £2,123.10 4.96%

Bristol (Unitary authority): £2,095.69 4.99%

Walsall (Metropolitan borough): £2,084.55 4.99%

Cornwall (Unitary authority): £2,068.04 5.52%

Liverpool (Metropolitan borough): £2,045.17 4.99%

Durham (Unitary authority): £2,044.83 5.07%