What is Council Tax and how is it spent?

Council Tax pays for local services such as education, street cleaning and policing. The money collected is divided between the organisations and authorities that provide those services. In West Suffolk, Council Tax is shared between:

  • Suffolk County Council
  • Suffolk Police
  • the district council (West Suffolk Council)
  • parish and town councils.

Parish and town council precepts

Parish and town councils can raise money from people who live in their area. They can do this by 'precepting' the 'principal authority' which in this case is West Suffolk Council. This means that parish or town councils have instructed the principal authority to collect money on their behalf. This money is collected through the Council Tax.

The table below illustrates how your Council Tax is split between all the different organisations and authorities - these percentages may differ from year to year and are to be taken as a guide.

How your Council Tax is shared

Organisation/authority 2021-22 (£ million) Share
Suffolk County Council £77.32 73.7%
Suffolk Police Authority £13.15 12.5%
West Suffolk Council £10.08 9.6%
Parish and town councils £4.36 4.1%

What sort of services does my Council Tax pay for?

Your Council Tax will be added to the overall income for each authority. This money will be used to pay for services as well as any administration costs in providing those services.

Suffolk County Council (SCC)

The county council takes the largest share of your Council Tax. This money goes towards providing services for the whole county:

  • adult and community services - includes adult learning, safeguarding vulnerable people and access to care services
  • children and young people's services - includes education, safeguarding young people, early years support and supporting children and their families
  • public health and protection - includes public health, fire and rescue, community safety, trading standards and emergency planning.

Adult social care precept

The Secretary of State 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 was the option of an adult social care authority being able to charge an additional 'precept' on its council tax without holding a referendum, to assist the authority in meeting its expenditure on adult social care from the financial year 2016-17. It was originally made in respect of the financial years up to and including 2019-20. If the Secretary of State chooses to renew this offer in respect of a particular financial year, this is subject to the approval of the House of Commons.

Find out more about their services at Suffolk County Council - Council directorates, services and senior officers. 

To find out in more detail what Suffolk County Council (SCC) spends on services, visit its webpage Suffolk County Council - Where we spend the money. You can also read its statement of accounts at Suffolk County Council, statement of accounts.

Suffolk Police

They will put their share of your Council Tax into their overall budget to ensure policing levels are maintained and to carry out any priorities and strategies. You can look at their statement of accounts to see how they manage their money from their webpage Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, group and PCC statement of accounts.

West Suffolk Council

We put your Council Tax towards paying for services such as rubbish collections and maintenance of public spaces. You can find out more from our page: How your money is spent.

Parish and town councils

They will spend their share on providing facilities and activities that benefit and bring together local communities. This could be the maintenance of village halls, community events or keeping children's play equipment in good condition.