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Your Council Tax 2019-2020

This page explains how your Council Tax is used to help provide Council services in 2019/2020 and it also explains how your Council Tax bill is calculated.

The Council Tax in Bedford Borough includes charges from:

  • Bedford Borough Council
  • The Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire
  • Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority
  • The Parish Council (in areas where there is a parish council)

Each charge is shown separately on the Council Tax bill.

Borough Council’s part of the Council Tax bill

The Government has assumed that councils will increase their Council Tax bill for 2019/2020 in working out how much Government support grant a council will receive in 2019/2020.

It has also set limits on the amount by which Council Tax bills may be increased without being approved through a public referendum.

Councils with responsibilities for adult social care, including Bedford Borough Council, cannot increase their Council Tax for 2019/2020 by 5% or more (including an increase of up to 2% dedicated to spending on adult social care) unless the increase is approved through a public referendum. Bedford Borough Council will be increasing Council Tax by 1.49% plus 1.00% for adult social care to make sure this essential service is adequately funded. This is within the referendum limit.

All funding raised through this additional 1% increase will be used for providing adult social care.

The Council set its Council Tax at a meeting of the full Council on 27 February 2019. The increase in Council Tax, before adjustments for special area charges, is 2.49%.

The figures below show the change in the average Council Tax charge for the Borough Council’s part of the Council Tax bill. Individual increases will vary slightly from the average rate due to changes in the special area charges that are specific to different parts of the Borough.

Average Council Tax increase

£

Council Tax charge 2018/2019

1,470.88

Council Tax charge for 2019/2020 (excluding adult social care charge for 2019/2020)

1,492.80

Council Tax adult social care charge for 2019/2020

14.71

Total Council Tax charge 2019/2020

1,507.51

Increase

36.63

Percentage increase

2.49%

Bedford Borough Council adult social care charge

Since 2016/2017 councils responsible for providing adult social care have been allowed an additional increase in Council Tax but must spend the money raised on providing social care. This extra increase is shown separately on each Council Tax bill as a percentage of the total Council Tax bill for the previous year (including the charges relating to the social care precept for previous years).

The adult social care precept for Bedford Borough for the average Band D Council Tax charge is shown in the table below:

Social Care Charge                £

% of Previous Year's Total Council Tax Bill

2016/2017

25.96

2%

2017/2018

40.60

3%

2018/2019

28.35

2%

2019/2020

14.71

1%

Total to date

109.62

The total social care charge included in the overall Council Tax bill for 2019/2020 is £109.62

Bedford Borough Council special area charges

Each household’s Council Tax bill will vary based upon where you live in the Borough. Bedford Borough Council provides community centres and parks services in some parts of the Borough that are provided by parish councils in other areas. An adjustment is made to the average amount of Council Tax for the different areas to ensure that residents are not charged twice for these services.

The figures below show the total adjustment for each part of the Borough for special area charges (please note the figures in the table are for Bedford Borough Council's part of the Council Tax only - see further details below about the full Council Tax charge).

Bedford

Urban Area

Kempston

Urban Area

Brickhill

Parish

Other

Parishes

£

£

£

£

Average Council Tax

1,507.51

1,507.51

1,507.51

1,507.51

Deduct Average of Special Area Amount*

-17.56

-17.56

-17.56

-17.56

Special Area Charge

33.75

19.99

21.46

3.06

Band D Council Tax

1,523.70

1,509.94

1,511.41

1,493.01

*The average Council Tax is the total Council Tax precept for the Council, including the special area charges, if households in all areas were required to pay the same special area charge. The average amount relating to special area charges included in this figure is then deducted to work out the Council Tax charge for each area without the special area charge. The appropriate charge for the services specific to each area funded by the special area charge is then added onto the bill to give the band D Council Tax for each area.

Parish Council costs

The Council Tax bill may also include a Parish Precept, which is the amount requested by the local Town or Parish Council for areas in which there is a town or parish council. On average the cost of the Parish Council adds £28.99 to a bill for a Band D property. This is an increase of 75p on last year.

Fire and Police costs

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire and the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority are responsible for setting their own level of Council Tax. Their Council Tax figures are then included in the overall Council Tax shown on the bill.

The following figures show where the money comes from to pay for the Borough Council’s net revenue expenditure plus the Band D Council Tax for the Police and Fire Authorities.

Council Tax and spending plans for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire

Council Tax and spending plans for the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority

How your Council Tax is calculated

The average Council Tax at Band D including the Police and Fire Authorities is £1,837.04 (£1,772.80 in 2018/2019).

2018/2019

2019/2020

Increase

Council Tax at Band D

Council Tax at Band D

£m

£

£m

£

130.6

Bedford Borough Net Budget

128.6

Less:

-10.2

Government Grants

-5.8

-32.5

Retained Business Rates

-30.9

-1.9

Council Tax Surplus

-1.4

86.0

1,470.88

Bedford Borough Council Tax

90.5

1,507.51

2.49%

1.7

28.24

Parish/Town Council

1.7

28.99

2.66%

87.7

1,499.12

Council Tax including Parish/ Town Councils

92.2

1,536.50

2.49%

10.4

178.09

Police & Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire

12.1

202.09

13.48%

5.6

95.59

Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Authority

5.9

98.45

2.99%

1,772.80

Total Council Tax

1,837.04

3.62%

Bedford Borough Council's budget

The 2019/2020 budget has been set against a context of reduced Government funding and increasing service / cost pressures, in particular in relation to Adult Social Care. It is anticipated that this context will continue over the medium term and as such, the Council will continue to face the challenge of providing key services within reduced resources.

For Bedford Borough Council there has been a net reduction of £4.4 million in central government funding for 2019/2020. In setting its budget the Council also has to take into account unavoidable spending pressures such as those arising from increases in external costs due to changes in government policy.

The Council has had to make difficult decisions in order to set a balanced budget and keep Council Tax affordable whilst, as far as possible, protecting front line services. A total reduction of £5.4 million through savings and efficiencies has been included in the budget.

The Council has been able to continue key front line services that matter to residents, and make further investments in adult social care services, as well as continuing free car parking in the town centre.

How Council Tax is spent on local services

Bedford Borough Council provides major services such as education, social care, highways, waste collection and disposal, housing benefits and economic development.

A summary of the revenue budget approved by Bedford Borough Council is shown below:

Gross Budget

£ million

Income Budget

£ million

Net Budget

£ million

Adults Services

80.6

-28.8

51.8

Children's Services*

119.3

-89.2

30.1

Customer

70.8

-57.2

13.6

Environment

51.1

-24.7

26.4

Enabling, Law and Governance

33.9

-24.9

9.0

Sub Total

355.7

-224.8

130.9

Corporate Budgets

12.1

-14.4

-2.3

Total for 2019/2020

367.8

-239.2

128.6

Total for 2018/2019

366.2

-235.6

130.6

* Including the cost of Local Authority Maintained Schools and associated funding

How the Council’s Budget has changed

Net Budget

£ million

2018/2019 Adjusted Budget

128.1

Increased income from Council Tax and Business Rates

-0.6

Other changes to funding

-2.8

Inflation

3.2

Investments in Services

7.9

Release of General Fund

-0.8

Capital Financing

-1.0

Efficiency savings

-5.4

2018/2019 Budget

128.6

Capital spending

In addition to the revenue budget, the Council has agreed a Capital Programme of £56.1 million for 2019/2020 on new and existing schemes. A summary of capital expenditure is set out below:
 

2019/2020

2020/2021

2021/2022

Total

£m

£m

£m

£m

Gross Directorate Budgets

Children's

10.0

3.8

3.8

17.6

Environment

31.0

30.3

19.7

81.1

Customer

5.1

0.3

0.1

5.5

Enabling, Law and Governance

10.0

7.9

5.4

23.3

Gross Total

56.1

42.3

29.0

127.4

Financed by

Grants & Contributions

24.6

25.6

15.6

65.8

Revenue

8.4

1.6

0.9

10.9

Capital Receipts

12.8

7.2

0.5

20.5

Borrowing

10.3

7.9

12.0

30.2

Total financing

56.1

42.3

29.0

127.4

* figures in the table are rounded to the nearest £100,000, therefore, the figures in the table may not exactly balance.

Capital expenditure is financed from grants, contributions, capital receipts, revenue, or borrowing. All capital projects are evaluated to ensure that any resulting ongoing revenue costs are affordable within current Council funding.

Further information

The detailed Revenue Budget and Capital Programme is included in the Council’s ‘Revenue Budget and Capital Programme’.

Corporate Plan

The Council must spend every pound as efficiently as possible. This may mean providing services in different ways and certainly means the Council must respond to service needs as quickly and effectively as possible.

Bedford Borough Council is working with other public service providers in the region to improve local quality of life and works with its partners, as part of the Strategic Partners Board (the local strategic partnership for Bedford).

The Corporate Plan was reviewed in 2016/17 and the updated Corporate Plan 2017 - 2021 sets out the vision to support people, enhance places, create wealth and enhance communities; and identifies what needs to be done to achieve these goals.