Council Tax Rates: Comparing Scotland to other UK nations

This paper sets out some important differences which should be borne in mind when comparing Scotland’s Council Tax rates to those of England and Wales.

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This paper sets out some important differences which should be borne in mind when comparing Scotland’s Council Tax rates to those of England and Wales. It goes on to highlight several factors which make direct comparisons difficult and sets out some recommendations to follow when presenting the data. 


The Band D Council Tax rate is set by local authorities in each of the three nations of the UK who have Council Tax. Northern Ireland still have a system of domestic rates.

Table 1: Average band D Council Tax rates 2020-21 to 2024-25

























Table 1 shows that Council Tax rates in Scotland are lower than in both England and Wales, however this paper will explain why direct comparisons should be treated with caution[1]. Approaches to Council Tax are different across the nations so full coherence will not be possible, but this document aims to ensure that any differences are clearly stated and can be understood.

While the Band D Council Tax rate is set by local authorities, the charges for properties in the other bands A to C and E to H and Band I in Wales are derived from the associated multipliers set out in the table below.

Table 2: Current Council Tax Multipliers









































The Scottish Council Tax multipliers for Band E to H were revised in 2017. Wales introduced Band I when they revalued in 2003.

Table 3: Current Valuation Bands


Scotland (1991)

England (1991)

Wales (2003)

Band A

Under £27,000

Under £40,000

Under £44,000

Band B

£27,001 to £35,000

£40,001 to £52,000

£44,001 to £65,000

Band C

£35,001 to £45,000

£52,001 to £68,000

£65,001 to £91,000

Band D

£45,001 to £58,000

£68,001 to £88,000

£91,001 to £123,000

Band E

£58,001 to £80,000

£88,001 to £120,000

£123,001 to £162,000

Band F

£80,001 to £106,000

£120,001 to £160,000

£162,001 to £223,000

Band G

£106,001 to £212,000

£160,001 to £320,000

£223,001 to £324,000

Band H

£212,001 and above

£320,001 and above

£324,001 to £424,000

Band I



£424,001 and above

Scottish and English valuation bands are based on the price of a property in 1991. Welsh valuation bands were revalued and are based on the price of a property in 2003. Valuation bands in Scotland were set at 2/3 of the value of those in England when Council Tax was first introduced in 1993 to reflect the relative differences in property prices in the two nations.

Council Tax Freeze in Scotland[2]

In 2007-08 Council Tax in Scotland was frozen. After nine years of the Council Tax freeze:

  • 2017-18 and 2018-19: the Scottish Government secured the agreement of local authorities to cap locally determined Council Tax increases to 3 per cent in cash terms

  • 2019-20 and 2020-21: Council Tax increases were capped at 3 per cent in real terms, which was 4.79 per cent and 4.84 per cent respectively in cash terms

  • 2021-22: Council Tax rates were frozen.

  • 2022-23: 21 local authorities increased their CT rates by 3 per cent. There were eight local authorities who increased their CT rate by less than 3 per cent and one by more. Shetland froze their rate at 2021-22 levels.

  • 2023-24: 15 local authorities increased their CT rates for by 5%. 6 local authorities increased their CT rate by less than 5% and 11 by more.

  • 2024-25: 30 of the 32 councils have frozen their Council Tax rates for the coming year, accepting the Scottish Government’s funding offer of 5%. Two councils will implement an increase - Argyll and Bute will increase rates by 10% and Inverclyde by 8.2%. [3]

Council Tax coverage


In Scotland, the average band D council tax for 2024-25 is £1,421.

Local authorities deliver a wide range of services[4] (including schools, social work, libraries, refuse collection and recycling) which are partly funded by Council Tax. The Scottish Government’s policy towards local authorities’ spending is to allow local authorities the financial freedom to operate independently. It is then the responsibility of individual local authorities to manage their own budgets and to allocate the total financial resources available to them, on the basis of local needs and priorities, having first fulfilled their statutory obligations and the jointly agreed set of national and local priorities.


In Wales[5], the average band D Council Tax for 2024-25 is £2,024. This includes £1,631 for county councils, £348 for police and £46 for community councils. Council tax is levied by a variety of different bodies, including Fire authorities and Police authorities as well as the local councils. Not all of these will apply to every location, but there will usually be more than one authority which levies Council Tax in an area[6].

In England[7], the average band D Council Tax for 2024-25 is £2,171. The Council Tax bill may be made up of several elements. In addition to the Council Tax for the billing authority responsible for the area, it may include Council Tax that is collected for some or all of the following categories of authority; county council (the Greater London Authority in London), fire and rescue authority, police & crime commissioner, combined authority, and parish or other local precepting council.


In England, there are several special factors which may have affected the decisions of local authorities when setting their Council Tax levels for 2023-24. These special factors are set out in Council Tax levels set by local authorities in England 2023 to 2024 (revised) and include:

Adult social care

In 2023-24 adult social care authorities are able to increase Council Tax by an additional 2 per cent. This is in addition to the usual funding of adult social care through Council Tax. This applies to London boroughs (including the City of London), county councils, metropolitan districts, and unitary authorities.

Local Government reorganisation

Following local government reorganisation, from 1 April 2023 four new unitary authorities came into existence, replacing exiting district councils. Cumbria Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has assumed the functions of Fire and Rescue that was previously the responsibility of Cumbria County Council.

Referendum principles

Authorities are required to hold a referendum if their relevant basic amount of Council Tax (i.e. the average Band D figure having excluded local precepts) for 2023-24 is in excess of the Council Tax referendum principles which apply to them. The referendum principles are set out in section 3.3 of Council Tax levels set by local authorities in England 2023 to 2024 (revised).

No referendum principles were set for mayoral combined authorities or local precepting authorities (parish or town councils, chairmen of parish meetings, charter trustees and the treasurers of the Inner and Middle Temples of London).

Localisation of Council Tax support

The localisation of Council Tax support introduced in 2013-14 allows authorities to amend their scheme each year if they wish, which may have affected their Council Tax requirement for 2023-24 (see Definitions section in the accompanying Technical Notes document).


Calculations of Council Tax are more complex in both England (with Adult Social Care and Parish precepts) and in Wales (with County Council, Community council and Police Authority elements) - explanation is provided in their statistical publications. Hence, where comparisons of Council Tax rates in Scotland are made to those in England and Wales, we advise that these are in line with the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) guidance on intelligent transparency. This advises that where comparisons are made publicly, they should, as a minimum, include the provision of adequate context to explain the relevant differences and divergences in policy so as to inform an intelligent interpretation of the figures. This would aid users’ understanding and prevent misinterpretation.

Therefore, to aid users understanding and minimise the risk of misleading comparisons, the following lines should accompany any comparisons of Scotland’s Council Tax rates to those of England and Wales: 

“Approaches to Council Tax differ across the nations, so full coherence is not possible and caution should be taken when making statistical comparisons. Property prices differ across the nations and have diverged since the 1991 valuations. The Council Tax bill in England contains additional elements, and special factors are taken into account when setting Council Tax levels. Properties in Wales have undergone a more recent revaluation than the other nations, and there will usually be other authorities levying Council Tax in addition to local councils. These are all factors which are likely to affect comparability in the statistics.


[1] Council Tax Band D rates data is published annual at the links below:

[3] Discussions around the proposed Scottish Government funded council tax freeze for 2024-25 have not concluded in all councils, therefore these figures may not be final and could be subject to revision


Council Tax Analysis

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