Council funding and spending

How council services are paid for and how your Council Tax money is spent.

How your Council Tax bill is made up

Your Council Tax bill is made up of several different amounts of money that go to different organisations:

  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Your city or district council
  • Your parish or town council (in some areas only)
  • Police and Crime Commissioner

The county council element

The Oxfordshire County Council element of your bill is made up of two parts:

  • General council tax used for all county council services, including: highway maintenance; children and adult social care; waste management and recycling; fire and rescue, and libraries
  • The adult social care ‘precept’, which specifically goes towards the rising cost of adult social care services (ASC).

 Council Tax increase limit

  • The government limits the amount that councils can increase Council Tax by without holding a local referendum.
  • The limit is currently 3%. That is why many councils, including Oxfordshire County Council, have increased general Council Tax by 2.99% to be under the referendum limit.

About the adult social care precept

  • The cost of providing adult social care is increasing across the country, as the population ages. The budgets of councils that provide adult social care – including Oxfordshire County Council – have been under pressure.
  • To enable councils to meet some of the growing costs, the government has allowed councils to increase Council Tax by more than the referendum limit - as long as that money is spent on adult social care.
  • This is known as the adult social care ‘precept’. Currently councils can increase general Council Tax by an additional 3% on top of the referendum limit of 3%. So, for 2018/19, the county council element of your Council Tax bill increases by 5.99% (ie 2.99% plus 3%).

How the adult social care precept is shown on your Council Tax bill

Your Council Tax Bill shows two figures for Oxfordshire County Council:

  • The first figure is your general Council Tax for 2018/19, including a 2.99% increase on last year’s total council tax amount for Oxfordshire County Council. (It actually says 3% as the figure has to be rounded to one decimal place)
  • The second figure (with an *) is the adult social care precept, which is made up two figures: the precept from 2017/18 (£63.10 for Band D) plus the precept for 2018/19, which is 3% of the 2017/18 total council tax amount for Oxfordshire County Council  (£40.37 for Band D). These figures combined gives the second figure shown on your Council Tax Bill (£103.47 for Band D).

How your money is spent (excludes schools)

We provide 80 per cent of the local government services by expenditure in the county, including adult and children’s social care, some education services, fire and rescue, libraries and museums, roads, trading standards, waste disposal and recycling.

For 2018/19 the council has set an overall gross budget of £788.5m (£790.8m in 2017/18). The figures below show broadly how we plan to spend our £583.9m gross expenditure budget (excluding schools) on services (£552.9m in 2017/18).  We spend £204.6m on schools which is funded by a government grant.

Area Percentage
Adult and children's social care 52%
Education and learning 14%
Highways and transport 10%
Public health 5%
Capital borrowing costs 5%
Waste management 6%
Fire and rescue and community safety 5%
Libraries and cultural, registration and coroner's services 3%

Where the money comes from

Area Percentage
Council Tax 61%
Central government grants 19%
Business rates 13%
Income from fees and charges 7%

Council Tax

Oxfordshire County Council’s Council Tax consists of two elements; our main Council Tax and an adult social care precept. They are shown as two separate lines on your Council Tax bill.

One of the main services we provide is adult social care. Councils across the country are facing substantial cost pressures due to increasing numbers of older people with complex needs requiring care and the rising cost of providing care. The government allows councils to raise their adult social care precept to help fund these pressures. This will increase Council Tax by 3 per cent this year.

We also face continuing cuts to the grants we receive from the government. This year, our Revenue Support Grant will be cut by £12.8m. To help lessen the impact of this cut in funding, our main Council Tax will increase by 2.99 per cent. Together with the adult social care precept, this results in a total increase of 5.99 per cent. We will be as efficient as possible in how we use the funds we receive in order to help protect services, particularly for those with greatest needs, and keep Council Tax as low as possible.

Council Tax Band Property Values Band D Proportion 2017/18 2018/19 Change
A Up to £40,000 6/9 £897.06 £950.79 £53.73
B Over £40,000 and up to £52,000 7/9 £1,046.57 £1,109.26 £62.69
C Over £52,000 and up to £68,000 8/9 £1,196.08 £1,267.72 £71.64
D Over £68,000 and up to £88,000 9/9 £1,345.59 £1,426.19 £80.60
E Over £88,000 and up to £120,000 11/9 £1,644.61 £1,743.12 £98.51
F Over £120,000 and up to £160,000 13/9 £1,943.63 £2,060.05 £116.42
G Over £160,000 and up to £320,000 15/9 £2,242.65 £2,376.98 £134.33
H Over £320,000 18/9 £2,691.18 £2,852.38 £161.20

The table above shows only the county council portion of your bill. The appropriate district, parish and Police and Crime Commissioner Council Tax will need to be added to give the total Council Tax charge.

Oxfordshire County Council is required to set a Council Tax charge as a proportion of the charge for band D properties. The Council Tax band of a property is not related to its current market value. This is because, by law, Council Tax valuations are based on the price a property would have fetched if it had been sold on 1 April 1991. General price movements in the housing market since that date are not, therefore, reflected in the Council Tax band a house is in.

Adult social care responsibilities

The Government requires all councils with adult social care responsibilities to publish the text below on their Council Tax information webpage. Please note that Oxfordshire County Council has not yet made any decision about its Council Tax rates for the years after 2018/19.

“The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has made an offer to adult social care authorities. (“Adult social care authorities” are local authorities which have functions under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014, namely county councils in England, district councils for an area in England for which there is no county council, London borough councils, the Common Council of the City of London and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.)

The offer is the option of an adult social care authority being able to charge an additional “precept” on its Council Tax for financial years from the financial year beginning in 2016 without holding a referendum, to assist the authority in meeting expenditure on adult social care. Subject to the annual approval of the House of Commons, the Secretary of State intends to offer the option of charging this “precept” at an appropriate level in each financial year up to and including the financial year 2019-20.”

How the precept is shown on your Council Tax bill

The information displayed on the Council Tax bill is prescribed by the Government in the Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011 as amended in 2017. The county council (as the precepting authority) and the district councils (as billing authorities) cannot vary this prescription.

The following is taken from the guidance received from the government with the 2017 amended regulations:

  • Local authorities (LAs) must show the adult social care (ASC) precept as a cash amount disaggregated from the overall charge set by the adult social care authority. Such authorities would therefore have two lines on the bills – one with the non-ASC charge and associated percentage increase; the other with the ASC Precept charge and associated percentage increase.
  • The ASC precept is considered to be a charge which accumulates in value over the years from 2016-17 to 2019-20. This is because LAs are expected to keep spending all of the additional Council Tax they have charged for the Precept in previous years (which has become part of their Council Tax baseline) on ASC services. So, for example, in a situation where the LA charged £20 for the Precept in 2016-17, and a further £22 in 2017-18 the bill would show the Precept as being worth £42 in 2017-18.
  • The cash values of both the adult social care precept and the amount for general expenditure should each be accompanied by a percentage increase figure. This should show the number of percentage points that the precept and general expenditure each contribute to the overall increase set by the LA. So in a situation where an ASC authority sets a 5.99 per cent increase, comprising 2.99 per cent for general expenditure and 3 per cent for the new amount of the precept for the current year, the bill would show increases of 2.99 per cent and 3 per cent respectively. It is noted that this is a different approach to the presentation of percentage increases elsewhere on the bill.

Therefore the adult social care (ASC) precept for Oxfordshire County Council is shown on Council Tax bills as follows:

Council Tax Band 2017/18 General Council Tax 2017/18 ASC Precept 2017/18 Total Council Tax 2018/19 2.99% General Increase 2018/19 3% ASC precept Increase 2018/19 General Council Tax 2018/19 ASC Precept shown on Council Tax Bill 2018/19 Total Council Tax Total Increase from 2017/18 - 5.99%
  (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i)
      (a) + (b) (c) x 2.99% (c) x 3% (a) + (d) (b) + (e) (f) + (g) (h) - (c)
A £854.99 £42.07 £897.06 £26.82 £26.91 £881.81 £68.98 £950.79 £53.73
B £997.50 £49.07 £1,046.57 £31.29 £31.40 £1,028.79 £80.47 £1,109.26 £62.69
C £1,139.99 £56.09 £1,196.08 £35.76 £35.88 £1,175.75 £91.97 £1,267.72 £71.64
D £1,282.49 £63.10 £1,345.59 £40.23 £40.37 £1,322.72 £103.47 £1,426.19 £80.60
E £1,567.49 £77.12 £1,644.61 £49.17 £49.34 £1,616.66 £126.46 £1,743.12 £98.51
F £1,852.49 £91.14 £1,943.63 £58.11 £58.31 £1,910.60 £149.45 £2,060.05 £116.42
G £2,137.48 £105.17 £2,242.65 £67.05 £67.28 £2,204.53 £172.45 £2,376.98 £134.33
H £2,564.98 £126.20 £2,691.18 £80.46 £80.74 £2,645.44 £206.94 £2,852.38 £161.20

The Environment Agency - flood defence levies  

We pay a flood defence levy of £0.6m to three regional flood committees of the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency is a levying body for its Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Functions under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Environment Agency (Levies) (England and Wales) Regulations 2011.

Flood defence money is spent on the construction of new flood defence schemes, the maintenance of the river system and existing flood defences together with the operation of a flood warning system.

The majority of funding for flood defence comes directly from the government, but where there are schemes which do not attract central funding, the agency raises income in the form of a local levy. The local levy is shared on the basis of the equivalent number of Band D dwellings between all contributing bodies within the committee area.