The council rates here are based on the property market, the average house price in the area where you live, and also on the amount of facilities you have. Rural properties are different again.
I have no problem with paying a fair amount for the services that I use, we all use these facilities, and they do have to be paid for. I have never heard of anyone losing their homes for not paying council rates. For elderly or unemployed people/disabled people, the rates are heavilly discounted, and payable on instalment. Some older people are exempt from payment.
Nobody here wants people to lose their homes, last year the government set up a scheme, where if you lost your job, or couldn't pay your mortgage, due to the financial crisis, the government would intervene with your mortgage holder, to insure you did not lose your home.