STRUGGLING families in East Lancashire are paying almost £1,000 more council tax than those in affluent areas of London.
While residents in Westminster will pay just £676 for an average ‘Band D’ home in 2014/15, those in Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale will have to fork out more than £1,500.
Next year’s council tax bill for Band D homes in Burnley is £1,595 while average homes in Pendle and Ribble Valley will pay £1,568 and £1,468 plus any parish council fees. Residents in Hyndburn and Rossendale will be charged £1,558 and £1,581 respectively.
Most of the cash from these five boroughs goes to the county council. Band D residents in Blackburn with Darwen, which has a unitary authority, will pay £1,486. Most of the cheapest council tax bills in England are found in Conservative-led west London boroughs.
Jenny Mein, Labour leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “It’s clearly unfair that our residents are paying so much more but it’s down to the unfair distribution of government funding.
“In Westminster they can raise a fortune through car parking and business rates so they barely need to charge any council tax.
“We also have many more people who require council services, which costs more.
“Things are working against us in so many ways and we need fairer funding.
“Our grant has been reduced by 13-and-a-half per cent over four years.”
A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government insisted that ‘funding is fair to all parts of the country’.
and added: “As more affluent areas have more homes in higher council tax bands, they pay higher average council tax.”
Andy Kay, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s cabinet member for resources, said the budgets for London borough’s were ‘completely different’ to Blackburn with Darwen’s.
He added: “Comparisons with other unitary authorities show that Blackburn with Darwen’s average council tax payable per dwelling is low, and we have one of the lowest council tax rates in Lancashire.”