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. What you pay is divided between the county council, the police and crime commissioner, the combined authority, the fire authority and the city council.

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.

Our budget for this year addresses the significant financial challenges we face from a combination of rising costs, years of reduced government funding, increased demand from Cambridge's growing population and the legacy of the pandemic.

To help manage these pressures we are continuing to implement our own transformation programmed, called 'Our Cambridge', to create a more modern and community-focused council. The aim is to deliver services through better use of technology and new ways of working.

As part of this programme we are working more closely with charities, businesses and other public sector organisations to find new ways to share resources and work together.

Council Tax is divided between the county council, the police and crime commissioner, the fire authority and the city council. In 2024/25 our share is 10.02%.

How Council Tax is split among authorities, based on a Band D property
Authority 2023/24 2024/25 Share
County council £1,542.87 £1,619.82 72.03%
Police and crime commissioner £272.52 £285.48 12.69%
City council £218.85 £225.39 10.02%
Fire authority £79.92 £82.26 3.66%
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority £12 £36 1.6%
Total £2,126.16 £2,248.95 100%

A household living in a Band D property in Cambridge will pay £2,248.95 in Council Tax from April 2024, of which we will retain £225.39.

All changes have been set in accordance with the Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases (Principles) (England) Report 2023/24, which specifies maximum increases by authority.

Our income

We will spend approximately £97.2 million on delivering services in Cambridge in 2024/25.

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 7,500 council homes, and the rents from these are kept separately to pay for housing services.

Where the council's money comes from

Service Income
Housing Benefit subsidy £26.2m
Fees, charges and other income £23.3m
Council Tax (the council retains approximately £1 of every £10 it collects in Council Tax) £10.2m
Business rates (the council retains approximately £10 in every £140 it collects in Business Rates on behalf of the government) £9.9m
Commercial property £9.7m
Government grants £8.4m
Commercial initiatives £3.5m
Interest and investment income £2.4m
Reserves – use of money set aside in previous years £1.9m
Other £1.7m
Total income £97.2m

Our expenditure

Where the council's money is spent

Service Expenditure
Housing Benefit £26.6m
Open Spaces and City Services £15.5m
Community Wealth Building and Community Safety £12.4m
Central Services (including elections and local tax collection), strategy and partnerships £10.5m
Housing services (excluding council housing) £8.5m
Climate Action and Environment £8.1m
Planning Policy and Infrastructure (including car parks) £4.8m
The Leader's Portfolio (including transformation and elections) £3.3m
Reserves - money set aside to pay for services in future years £3.1m
Corporate and Democratic Core £2.7m
Commercial Property £1.3m
Capital expenditure financed from revenue £0.4m
Total expenditure £97.2m

In 2023/24 your Council Tax helped to pay for a wide range of services for Cambridge residents, including:

  • Emptying your bins and improving recycling – Our shared waste service collected waste from just over 50,000 bins in the city, missing only 0.3% of bin collections. We diverted just over 51% 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 550,000 casual swims in our swimming pools and nearly 172,000 visits to our sports facilities. Nearly 59,000 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 178 reports of offensive graffiti and 597 reports of detrimental graffiti and removed 2,079 incidents of fly-tipping. We also responded to 340 reports of abandoned cars.
  • Providing community centres, community development activities and a community grants programme – Nearly 132,000 visits were made to our community centres, of which just over 102,000 were from priority groups. Our community grants programme allocated nearly £1.4m 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 839 reports of antisocial behaviour. Our Environmental Health Service responded to nearly 880 complaints about noise nuisance.
  • Providing housing advice and support – The council and its partners prevented or relieved homelessness for just over 440 households and secured housing in the private rented sector for just over 140 households in housing need. The council also supported rough sleepers, of which 24 were identified during the annual count.
  • Collecting local taxes and administering housing benefit and support for Council Tax – We collected £96.4m in Council Tax from over 60,574 households and £119.6m in business rates from nearly 4,375 businesses. We paid around £29m in housing benefit and awarded nearly £9m in Council Tax support and made £135,000 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, dealt with 2,588 planning applications in the city, determined 90% of major applications and 85% of non-major applications within the original or agreed extension deadlines.
  • Managing car parks and promoting greener travel – Our multi storey car parks saw a usage of 1.8 million vehicles as customers visited the city centre. Parking Services continued to provide a complimentary Shopmobility service for the hire of mobility scooters and wheelchairs. We also continued to embrace sustainable transportation to promote greener travel. This included the promotion of car clubs and expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Organising elections and managing the electoral register – During the year we delivered elections for the city council as well as two city council by-elections, enabling around 29,000 electors to cast their vote in a polling station and 12,500 to vote by post. We canvassed over 60,000 residential properties to make sure the data held for the 90,000 electors in the electoral register was up-to-date.
  • Responding to your enquiries – In 2023 there were nearly 142,000 transactions with customers conducted over the internet and just over 90% of the enquiries made by telephone were resolved 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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