Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government
In April 2020, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) published analysis of the impact of revaluing and reforming council tax in Wales on local authority areas and different types of households. This analysis, commissioned by the Welsh Government, contributed to a body of research into the options for building a fairer and more progressive council tax in Wales – something which our Programme for Government commits to delivering. This commitment is also reflected in the Cooperation Agreement.
The previous research was based on estimated property values prior to the recent pandemic (Q1 2019). The IFS has recently published updated analysis to provide insights into changes in property values between 2019 and 2022. The report: Updated analysis of the effects of revaluing & reforming council tax across Welsh local authorities can be found here.
Both pieces of research further our understanding of the possible impacts of reform. Without an exercise to update and revalue the 1.5 million domestic properties in Wales, the system would remain twenty years out of date. Without this information, we are also constrained in our ability to make fundamental changes to council tax which could help to make the system fairer. In July, I published a Phase 1 consultation on A Fairer Council Tax, closing 4 October.
The updated analysis from the IFS confirms that since 2019, there have been increases in property values across Wales and these have varied across the country. Land Registry figures suggest percentage increases in value have been smaller in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea, and larger in Merthyr Tydfil, parts of the Valleys and many other areas. It is important to remember that changes are not reflected in council tax bills in absolute terms: the council tax we design in the future will remain a relative system, with bands at the lower and higher ends of property valuations.
These findings add important insights into the specific needs and requirements for a fairer council tax, as we continue to consider the way forward.