COUNCIL tax payers in England and Wales are facing an average 4.2% hike in their bills this year, a survey revealed today.
The average levy on a Band D property will go up by £53 to £1,302 in 2007-08, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) found in a study based on preliminary figures.
Although this increase is higher than the current inflation rate - 2.7%, according to the consumer prices index - it represents the second lowest annual rise since 1994-5.
In Kirklees, residents will find out tonight how much they will have to pay.
The council's four main groups have all tabled tax rise proposals, set to be debated at a seven-hour budget meeting.
The final figure is expected to be around 4%.
Calderdale Council meet tomorrow night.
CIPFA said the rise would have been higher had it not been for additional Government grants and the threat of budget "capping" for councils that set increases of more than 5%.
The survey found the average increase was lowest in London and other metropolitan areas (3.7%) and highest in Wales (4.7%).
Steve Freer, CIPFA's chief executive, said: "This will be regarded as a very positive result in Whitehall and in town halls up and down the country.
"The second lowest annual increase in council taxes for 13 years is a significant achievement."
But Anna Pearson, senior policy officer for Help the Aged, said the survey showed "in the starkest terms" that the council tax burden on older people was continuing to grow.
She said research carried out by Help the Aged showed that 5% of over-65s said they had cut back on food to meet present payments, while 8% had cut back on heating.