How your money is spent

The money that we receive from you is pooled with the money we get from elsewhere and spent on providing services to the community. All councils must provide certain services by law (mandatory services) such as rubbish collections (district/borough councils) and education (Suffolk County Council).

Other services are discretionary (those that we do not have to provide by law) such as some sports and leisure facilities. Your money is also spent on maintaining public open spaces such as the Abbey Gardens, Brandon Country Park and West Stow and supporting the council's priorities.

The table below explains what we spend money on in a year including what was paid out in benefits.

Examples of what is included in each category is listed beneath the table.

West Suffolk Council - what your money is spent on

What we spend the money on 2021-22 (£ million) 2022-23 (£ million)
Cultural and related services £5.45 £5.35
Environmental and regulatory services £4.75 £10.66
Planning and development services £7.50 £7.18
Highways and transport services £3.84 £3.85
Other housing services £30.03 £31.32
Parish and town spending £4.35 £4.73
Central services to the public £0.50 £0.49
Corporate and democratic services £23.87 £20.61
Other costs £3.52 £2.42
Transfer to reserves £8.86 £9.14
Total £92.67 £95.75

What sort of services are included in these categories?

Corporate services

  • insurance
  • external audits
  • bank charges
  • civic functions and expenses

Culture and related services

  • operating and maintaining parks, open spaces and play equipment
  • operating and maintaining public buildings (such as Moyse's Hall Museum, the Athenaeum and the Apex in Bury St Edmunds and Palace House in Newmarket)
  • maintaining leisure centres

Environmental services

  • street cleaning
  • rubbish and recycling collections
  • public toilets
  • community safety

Housing services

  • housing benefits - the money is received from Government as a grant and is distributed as Housing Benefit to those who need it - this is 95% of the total housing services spend
  • helping the homeless
  • housing advice

Other costs

  • markets management
  • industrial sites and business units

Parish and town spending

Planning and development services

  • development control and enforcement (dealing with breaches in planning permission)
  • building control
  • town centre management

Roads and transport services

  • off street car parks
  • maintenance of bus stations and some shelters
  • maintenance of some verges

Services to the public

  • management of electoral registration and elections
  • administration of Council Tax and business rates (National Non Domestic Rates)
  • emergency planning

Transfers to/from reserves and contribution to reserves

  • moving money from one reserve to another
  • adding to a reserve where necessary