Students May Soon Be Made To Pay Council Tax

A campaign calling for an end to student council tax exemptions has been launched after it was found that Durham County Council is losing £11m.

Written byBea Howison
Published on
Read time2 min read

A campaign has been launched to recover millions of pounds in council tax revenue lost due to student exemptions, with the City of Durham Parish Council leading the initiative.

Data has revealed that a staggering £11 million is going uncollected due to student properties being exempt from council tax payment.

Highlighting the financial implications, the council argues that this lost income could effectively alleviate the financial shortfall in Durham County Council's budget. However, the county council has asserted its inability to alter council tax criteria, as these are nationally set by the government.


The figures paint a vivid picture: 6,196 properties currently benefit from student exemptions, while an additional 1,857 properties are disregarded for being purpose-built student accommodations.

Most of the county's houses in multiple occupation are clustered in Durham City, primarily serving student populations.

Councillor Alan Doig, chair of the parish council, acknowledged the significance of Durham University but expressed alarm at the statistics, labelling them 'quite horrifying.'

He criticised the loophole that allows landlords of student accommodations to evade council tax payments, despite benefiting from local services funded by the council.

Victoria Murray from Durham County Council emphasised that the criteria governing council tax exemptions are established nationally by the government and applied uniformly by local authorities across the nation.

As it currently stands, households in which everybody living there is a full-time university or college student will generally be exempt from paying council tax.

However this could change with the renewed calls to scrap student council tax exemptions.

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