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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. 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 has been seriously affected by the impact of the cost of living crisis, inflation and changes in patterns of consumer behaviour observed as the city recovers from the pandemic.

Budgets reflect the continuing impact of the wholesale increases in fuel prices. Income from car parking has continued to reduce, with individuals continuing to find themselves able to work from home for all or part of the week.

We are partway through our ambitious Our Cambridge transformation programme. This programme is focused on ensuring our financial sustainability in the medium-term by reshaping and redesigning the council.

The aim is to be a better and more sustainable organisation that has a deeper and more integrated relationship with the local community and partners. Savings from the programme are starting to come to fruition and these include a restructure of senior management which will yield savings from the 2023/24 financial year.

Council Tax is divided between the county council, the police and crime commissioner, the fire authority and the city council. In 2023/24 our share is 10.29%.

How Council Tax is split among authorities, based on a Band D property
Authority 2022/23 2023/24 Share
County council £1,469.61 £1,542.87 72.57%
Police and crime commissioner £257.58 £272.52 12.82%
City council £212.50 £218.85 10.29%
Fire authority £74.97 £79.92 3.76%
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority £0 £12 0.56%
Total £2,014.66 £2,126.16 100%

A household living in a Band D property in Cambridge will pay £2,126.16 in Council Tax from April 2023, of which we will retain £218.85.

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 £101 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 £26.5m
Fees, charges and other income £24.4m
Business rates £11.2m
Government grants £10.8m
Council Tax £9.8m
Commercial property £9.5m
Commercial initiatives £3.9m
Interest and investment income £2.1m
Reserves – use of money set aside in previous years £1.5m
Other £0.8m
Total income £100.5m

Our expenditure

Service Expenditure
Housing Benefit £26.7m
Open Spaces, Food Justice and Community Development (including cultural services, arts and recreation and community centres) £16.6m
Environment, Climate, and Biodiversity (including bin collections and environmental health) £13.5m
Central Services (including elections and local tax collection), strategy and partnerships £10.1m
Planning Policy and Infrastructure (including car parks) £9.9m
Reserves - money set aside to pay for services in future years £9.5m
Housing services (excluding council housing) £7.5m
Corporate and Democratic Core £2.5m
Capital expenditure financed from revenue £1.6m
Commercial property £1.5m
Recovery, employment and community safety £0.8m
Financing prior year capital expenditure £0.3m
Total expenditure £100.5m

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 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 518,708 casual swims in our swimming pools and 142,002 visits to our sports facilities. Nearly 54,424 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 158 reports of offensive graffiti and 444 reports of detrimental graffiti and removed 2,240 incidents of fly-tipping. We also responded to 341 reports of abandoned cars.
  • Providing community centres, community development activities and a community grants programme – Just under 70,000 visits were made to our community centres, of which just under 11,000 were from priority groups, and our community grants programme allocated just over £1m 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 718 reports of antisocial behaviour in our Antisocial Behaviour Team, of which 665 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 355 households and secured housing in the private rented sector for 96 households in housing need. The number of rough sleepers in the official annual street count rose from 14 in 2021 to 23 in 2022.
  • Collecting local taxes and administering housing benefit and support for Council Tax – We collected £90.9m in Council Tax from over 59,745 households and £117.5m in business rates from nearly 4,420 businesses. We paid £27.5m in housing benefit and awarded £8.1m in Council Tax support and made £150,000 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 nearly 2,810 planning applications in the city, determined 65% of major applications and 73% 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 ‘free at point of use’ Shopmobility service for the hire of mobility scooters and wheelchairs. We also continue to encourage the use of other forms of sustainable transport to help reduce congestion and improve air quality. This included the promotion of car clubs and the provision of 177 EV charging points in the year.
  • Organising elections and managing the electoral register – During the year we delivered elections for the city council, enabling around 25,000 electors to cast their vote in a polling station and 11,000 to vote by post. 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 – In 2022 we handled over 217,087 transactions, resolving 91.5% 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.

Service related queries

For questions about a service we provide, please use our contact us form