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Cambridge City Council

What your Council Tax pays for

We are responsible for collecting Council Tax from Cambridge residents to help pay for the work of local councils and the emergency services.

Council Tax is a property-based tax which is payable on most domestic properties. There is one Council Tax bill per property, whether it is owned or rented, and the people who live there are normally responsible for paying it.

The council’s budget for this year has been seriously affected by financial effects of the pandemic and reduction in government revenue support grants from £5m in 2013 to nil by 2019.

Last year the total estimated cost of the pandemic on the city council alone was £18.5m, most significantly due to increased spending on housing and providing accommodation for former rough sleepers, alongside reduced income from car parking and from Cambridge Live events.

This was only partially mitigated by government grants totalling £11.3m – or just 61.3% of the additional net expenditure – leading to a shortfall of £7.2m.

Council Tax is divided between the county council, the police and crime commissioner, the fire authority and the city council. In 2022/23 our share is 10.55%.

How Council Tax is split among authorities, based on a Band D property
Authority 2021/22 2022/23 Increase Share
County council £1,399.77 £1,469.61 5% 72.95%
Police and crime commissioner £247.59 £257.58 4% 12.78%
City council £207.50 £212.50 2.4% 10.55%
Fire authority £73.53 £74.97 2% 3.72%
Total £1,928.39 £2,014.66 4.5% 100%

A household living in a Band D property in Cambridge will pay £2014.66 in Council Tax from April 2022, of which £212.50 will be retained by the city council.

All changes have been set in accordance with the Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases (Principles) (England) Report 2022/23, which specifies maximum increases by authority.

Our income

We will spend approximately £93 million delivering services in Cambridge in 2022/23.

We receive income from fees and charges for services, commercial property rents and Housing Benefit subsidy. Income also comes from your Council Tax payments, grants from the government and a share of local business rates.

We are landlord to more than 7,000 council homes, and the rents from these are kept separately to pay for housing services.

Service Income
Housing Benefit subsidy £28.6m
Fees, charges and other income £24m
Commercial property £9.1m
Council Tax £9.4m
Business rates £6.2m
Government grants £5.2m
Commercial initiatives £3.7m
Interest and investment income £1.2m
Other £1m
Total income £93.3m

Our expenditure

Service Expenditure
Housing Benefit £29m
Communities (including cultural services, arts and recreation, and community centres) £13.1m
Reserves – money set aside to pay for services in future years £6.1m
Central services (including elections and local tax collection), strategy and partnerships £8.7m
Climate change, environment (including bin collections and
environmental health) and city centre
Housing services (excluding council housing) £5.9m
Planning policy and transport (including car parks) £14.7m
Open spaces (including parks), sustainable food and community, wellbeing £3m
Corporate and democratic management costs £2.3m
Capital contributions and other expenditure £0.3m
Commercial property £0.9m
Total expenditure £93.3m

In 2021 to 2022 your Council Tax has helped to pay for a wide range of services for Cambridge residents, including:

  • community response to coronavirus – we continue to support our communities and mutual aid organisations in the city to mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic and to promote public health messages and vaccination uptake, to ensure that all sections of our communities could be helped and protected as far as possible. Work also continued to support the city’s Food Poverty Alliance and the running of local food hubs to ensure local organisations and volunteers could respond to Cambridge residents in need
  • bins and improving recycling – Our shared waste service collected waste from just over 50,000 bins in the city, missing only 0.2% of bin collections. We diverted just over 50% of household waste from landfill and collected just over 52,000 tonnes of materials for recycling
  • providing leisure facilities including indoor and outdoor swimming pools – During the year there were around 310,335 casual swims in our swimming pools and 61,590 visits to our sports facilities. Nearly 27,545 of the visits were made by people with concessionary memberships
  • keeping streets and open spaces clean and tidy – We routinely maintained over one million square metres of grass and collected waste from bins in parks and open spaces. We responded to 114 reports of graffiti and 500 reports of detrimental graffiti, and removed 2,211 incidents of fly-tipping. We also responded to 370 reports of abandoned cars
  • providing community centres, community development activities and a community grants programme – Just under 60,000 visits were made to our community centres, of which just over 24,000 were from priority groups, and our community grants programme allocated just over £1,036,000 to voluntary and community groups for projects to reduce social and economic disadvantage for residents with the greatest need
  • dealing with antisocial behaviour and calls about noise nuisance – We dealt with a total of 706 reports of antisocial behaviour in our Antisocial Behaviour Team, of which 596 required intensive work. Our Environmental Health Service responded to 863 complaints about noise nuisance
  • providing housing advice and support – The council and its partners prevented or relieved homelessness for 445 households and secured housing in the private rented sector for 166 households in housing need. We also reduced the number of rough sleepers on the official annual street count from 17 in 2020 to 14 in 2021
  • collecting local taxes, and administering housing benefit and support for Council Tax – We collected £86.6m in Council Tax from over 59,056 households and £123.3m in business rates from nearly 4,450 businesses. We paid out £28.5m in housing benefit and awarded £8m in Council Tax support and made £210,000 of Discretionary Housing Payments
  • planning for new developments and growth in the city and determining planning applications – In the year our shared planning service continued to take forward our Local Plan and dealt with nearly 2,700 planning applications in the city and determined 71% of major applications and 70% of non-major applications within the original or agreed extension deadlines
  • managing car parks and promoting greener travel – There were nearly 1.8 million visits made to our multi-storey car parks. We continue to encourage people to use other forms of transport that will reduce our congestion and improve air quality. This includes the promotion of car clubs, to help move away from the need to own a motor vehicle, to the provision of EV charging points, to promote clean modes of travel. Additionally, the car parking service provides a ‘free at point of use’ Shopmobility service
  • organising elections and managing the electoral register – During the year we managed four city-wide polls, enabling around 40,000 electors to cast their vote in a Covid-safe way. More than 18,000 people registered to vote using the online service and we canvassed over 60,000 residential properties to make sure the data held in the electoral register was up to date
  • responding to your enquiries – Our customer services team handled over 247,331 transactions in the year, resolving 88% of the enquiries made by telephone on the first call.

Services we provide

Cultural, environmental, regulatory and planning services

  • Community, arts and recreation – Providing and managing community centres, neighbourhood community development activity, children and young people’s services, arts and sports development, recreation and swimming facilities and our outdoor event programme. Supporting the Corn Exchange and Cambridge Folk Festival.
  • Economic development – Management of commercial properties and the local markets.
  • Environmental health and protection – Monitoring and enforcing food hygiene standards. Control of pests, diseases, noise and air pollution. Licensing of taxis, liquor and gambling.
  • Planning and development control – Dealing with planning and building control applications. Managing and planning for growth in the city.
  • Climate change and sustainability – Working to reduce the council’s own production of CO2 and to reduce the impact of climate change on Cambridge.
  • Streets and open spaces – Managing the city’s parks and open spaces, keeping them and the streets clean. Provision and management of play areas, allotments, residential moorings and public toilets.
  • Waste management – Collection of household and trade waste and promoting recycling through the shared waste service created with South Cambridgeshire District Council.
  • Other services – Including CCTV and the city’s cemeteries and crematorium.

Highways and transport

  • Parking services – Provision of off-street car parks.
  • Sustainable transport initiatives – Encouraging cycling and walking. Support for public transport, including Taxicard and Dial-a-Ride.

Housing services

  • Private sector housing – Encouraging and enabling the private sector to maintain the standard of its properties and promoting energy efficiency.
  • Development – Working to enable the provision of new affordable housing.
  • Homelessness – Working to prevent homelessness and reduce rough sleeping.
  • Other services – Including housing advice, maintaining the housing needs register and providing more choice in social housing, tackling anti-social behaviour and promoting community safety.

Central services to the public

  • Elections – Running local and national elections and maintaining the electoral register.
  • Local tax collection – Collecting Council Tax for our own services and on behalf of the county council, the fire authority, the police and crime commissioner and national business rates collection.
  • Housing Benefit and Council Tax support – Payment of Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance and Council Tax support to those on a low income, whether they are working or not. This includes pensioners.
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