The main sources of income for district/borough and county councils are Council Tax, government grants, fees and charges and any money from investments. Most councils rely heavily on grants from government in order to function.
For the financial year 2016 to 2017 Forest Heath District Council had a total income of £33,467,403, St Edmundsbury Borough Council had a total income of £64,792,081 for the same period. Just over half of each council's income is from central government which goes back out to benefit claimants.
The remainder of the money is spent on providing services. All councils have a duty to provide certain services (mandatory services) such as rubbish collection, the collection of Council Tax and the administration of housing benefits. To find out more about where your money goes, see our page: How your money is spent
The definitions and charts below illustrate our main sources of income and how they contribute to the total in percentage terms.
Money from your Council Tax is split between us, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Police and your local parish council. For more detailed information about where your Council Tax goes, read our page: What is Council Tax and how is it spent?
Fees, charges and other government grants
This includes money that we have received from renting out council owned property, car parking charges or planning fees. It also includes money from some discretionary services that we provide.
Discretionary services are those where we have a choice about whether to provide them and councils can charge for these. Some of the discretionary services that we provide and charge for include an advisory service for planning and building regulations.
Councils can also charge for some mandatory services where they do more than the minimum required. However, any charges can only cover our costs. But this means that we are able to provide some facilities that we otherwise might not be able to offer (such as some leisure facilities).
This money also includes some government grants such as the New Homes Bonus, or grants for the administration of Council Tax and benefits.
Settlement funding assessment
The settlement funding assessment is money allocated to councils by the government, it replaced what was known as the formula grant in 2013 to 2014. Settlement funding is a combination of a government grant called the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and baseline funding which is our portion of the local share of business rates.
Interest and investments
Any money the councils have and that isn't being used, is invested. We invest by lending money to secure organisations such as banks and building societies who pay us interest. Investing means your money is getting the best return possible so we can keep providing services despite cuts in funding from central government. Ensuring that we protect the initial investment is always the most important factor and we always consider this alongside any potential return.
Transfers from reserves
This is money that has been moved from one pot to another to fund services, projects or assets. Reserves are similar to having a savings account where money is put aside to be used at a later date. For example, both councils will save money to cover costs that they know will come up in the future - such as replacing rubbish collecting lorries or building maintenance costs. When the money is needed it is transferred from our reserves and into our general fund accounts where it is then spent.