Households in Scotland to pay up to £780 less in council tax and water bills than England and Wales

Couple at laptop

In England, households will see an average council tax increase of 5.1 per cent

Temi Laleye

By Temi Laleye

Published: 08/04/2024

- 16:12

Scotland now has six tax bands, compared to other parts of the UK

Residents in Scotland could be up to £780 better off than those living in England due to the council tax freeze and lower water costs, the SNP has said.

The average household will pay around £1,417 four council tax in Scotland because of the Scottish Government’s freeze.

However, residents in England and Wales face increases of up to 7.7 per cent.

In Wales, the average council tax for a Band D property is £2024 – 35 per cent higher than in Scotland - and in England it is £2171, a difference of 42 per cent.

As well as council tax bills, households in Scotland can also benefit from lower water bills, with the average annual water bill to cost £444 in Scotland, and £473 in England and Wales, research compiled by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre for the SNP found.

However, the Scottish Labour party has dismissed this analysis as a "desperate spin" on the first working week of the financial year.

Couple at laptop

Michael Marra said the SNP are aiming to pay for their own plans


Michael Marra said the SNP are aiming to pay for their own plans.

The Scottish Labour Party’s spokesperson on finance said: “Behind the SNP’s desperate spin is the fact that they are raising taxes on nurses and plumbers to pay for their own failure to grow the economy.

“With the SNP hiking taxes on workers while opposing a windfall tax on oil and gas giants, it is clear that they are not on the side of working people.

“Only Scottish Labour will deliver the growth we need and put money into the pockets of working people.”

The Scottish government says the majority of Scottish income taxpayers pay less than they would elsewhere in the UK.

The council tax freeze means the average Band D council tax in Scotland will remain at £1,417 for 2024/25, the SNP said.

In England, households will see an average council tax increase of 5.1 per cent, taking the bill for a Band D property to £2,171.

In Wales, an average 7.7 per cent rise will see a Band D property pay, on average, £2,024.

Those living in Scotland will also pay less on their annual water bill. They will pay £444 in Scotland, and £473 in England and Wales.

The SNP said this would mean “the average household in Scotland pays £783 less per year than the average household in Tory-run England, and £636 than their equivalent in Labour-run Wales.”

David Linden, the SNP’s social justice spokesperson said: “Through the council tax freeze and a publicly-owned water company, Scots pay up to £780 less than residents in England and Wales.

“This is on top of free university tuition, free prescriptions, free baby boxes, free dental check-ups and seven welfare payments that are unique to Scotland, including the Scottish Child Payment. These are Scotland’s values.

“However, whilst we remain under Westminster control Scotland can only go so far - and shockingly that will remain true under a Labour government, given Sir Keir Starmer has signed up to Tory tax and spending plans, u-turned on renegotiating Brexit and refused to give Scotland’s parliament any more powers.”

One of the biggest changes for Scotland this financial year is the increase in their council tax bands.

A new "Advanced" band of income tax for those earning more than £75,000 has been introduced along with other changes to tax rates.

Scotland now has six tax bands, in contrast to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where there are just three.

An additional one pence will be added to the top rate of tax meaning income over £125,140 will be taxed at 48 per cent.

The starter and basic rate bands will increase in line with inflation and the Higher rate threshold will be maintained at £43,662.

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