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.
Our 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.
So far the total estimated cost of the pandemic on the city council alone has been £16.6m (figure from January 2021). This is 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 has only partially been mitigated by government grants totalling £8.3m (by January 2021), with the remaining sum to be covered by £2.1m of council reserves, and £6.2m through identifying savings.
Council Tax is divided between the county council, the police and crime commissioner, the fire authority and the city council. In 2021/22 our share is 10.76%.
|Police and crime commissioner||£232.65||£247.59||6.4%||12.84%|
The figures quoted above are based on a Council Tax payment of £1,928.39 for a Band D property in 2021/22. Figures from 2020/21 and the percentage increase are shown for comparison.
The county council amount of £1,399.77 includes £134.81 to be used for adult social care.
All changes have been set in accordance with the Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases (Principles) (England) Report 2021/22, which specifies maximum increases by authority.
We will spend approximately £91.8 million delivering services in Cambridge in 2021/22.
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.
|Housing Benefit subsidy||£30.6m|
|Fees, charges and other income||£24.3m|
|Interest and investment income||£1.3m|
|Communities (including cultural services, arts and recreation, and community centres)||£13.7m|
|Transport (including car parks) and community safety||£11.6m|
|Central services (including elections and local tax collection), strategy and partnerships||£10.4m|
|Climate change, environment (including bin collections and
environmental health) and city centre
|Housing services (excluding council housing)||£5.8m|
|Planning policy and open spaces (including parks)||£5.8m|
|Corporate and democratic management costs||£1.8m|
|Capital contributions and other expenditure||£1.5m|
In 2020/21 your Council Tax helped to pay for a wide range of services for Cambridge residents, including:
- Community response to coronavirus – After the onset of the pandemic, we worked with groups and mutual aid organisations to help coordinate and support activity by local people to help other residents. This included ’good neighbour’ support (such as shopping and collection of medicines) and eight food hubs for people experiencing food shortages – over the year they had nearly 18,000 visitors who collected over 110 tonnes of food. Volunteers from the hubs reached out to over 1,200 households and delivered over 8,000 meals. Over Christmas more than 500 festive food hampers were provided to local families. We put a range of support activity online, much of it through the new Cambridge Virtual Community Centre.
- Emptying your bins and improving recycling – Our shared waste service collected waste from more than 50,000 bins in the city, missing only 0.2% of collections. We diverted 50% of household waste from landfill and collected 52,000 tonnes of materials for recycling.
- Providing leisure facilities including indoor and outdoor swimming pools – During the year there were 240,208 casual swims in our swimming pools and 55,882 visits to our sports facilities. People with concessionary membership made up 24,714 of the total visits.
- Keeping streets and open spaces clean and tidy – Parks and open spaces were kept clean and tidy throughout the year with over one million square metres of grass routinely maintained. We responded to 92 reports of offensive graffiti and 192 reports of offensive detrimental graffiti, investigated 455 incidents of fly tipping, responded to 340 reports of abandoned cars and issued 225 fixed penalty notices for littering.
- Providing community centres, community development activities and a community grants programme – During the year 36,403 visits were made to our community centres and our community grants programme allocated £900,000 to voluntary and community groups for projects reducing social and economic disadvantage for city residents with the highest need.
- Dealing with antisocial behaviour and calls about noise nuisance – During the year we dealt with 716 reports of antisocial behaviour, 593 of which involved intensive casework, and our Environmental Health Service responded to 1,545 complaints about noise nuisance and served 8 abatement notices in more serious cases.
- Providing housing advice and support – During the year we and our partners prevented or relieved homelessness for 441 households. As a part of the ‘Everyone In’ emergency initiative to ensure no one was without a safe place to isolate in the pandemic, we found accommodation for just under 300 homeless people, with more than 100 going on to find settled accommodation.
- Collecting local taxes, and administering housing benefit and support for Council Tax – We collected £88.1m in Council Tax from 58,702 households and £65.4m in business rates from 4,537 businesses. We paid out £30.73m in housing benefit and £7.73m in Council Tax support, including £824,000 of additional Council Tax Hardship Fund payments.
- Planning for new developments and growth in the city and determining planning applications – During the
year our shared planning service took forward our Local Plan. We dealt with just over 2,785 planning applications and determined 80% of major applications and 75% of minor applications within 13 weeks.
- Managing car parks – During the year just over 1.1m fewer customers made use of our multi-storey car parks than last year. We played a key role in helping to kickstart the city centre, pausing price increases, and putting a £1 per hour tariff in place during the summer months. Free permits were provided to public-sector workers and during lockdown periods to key workers. Free parking was made available to people attending vaccination centres in the Grafton centre and other immunisation hubs in the city.
- Organising elections and managing the electoral register – During the year we implemented changes to the way the annual canvass of electors is conducted (and in a Covid-safe way) and introduced online access to all decision-making councillor committee meetings.
- Responding to your enquiries – We handled over 120,500 transactions conducted over the internet and our customer services centre resolved just over 90% of enquiries made by telephone.
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.
- 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.