Letter from the Leader of the Council

Dear resident,

I wanted to get in touch to update you on changes to council tax for the year ahead. We are attempting to hold back a tidal wave of relentless pressure on Camden’s public services – and we are now reaching tipping point. As part of our financial planning, we have made the decision to raise council tax by 3.99%. This is equivalent to an extra 94p per week for a Band D property.

This decision comes as government cuts to our funding reach 54% since 2010. Cuts, combined with increasing demand and a rise in costs, mean we have had to reduce our budget by £169 million since 2010, to be followed by a further estimated £35-40 million from our annual budget by 2022. Find out about our budget plans and watch a short video that explains our financial challenge at camden.gov.uk/financialchallenge.

In Camden we are committed to standing with local residents to speak up for our public services. Despite national pressures we want Camden to stay a vibrant, mixed place where we look after each other when people face hard times.

This isn’t something the Council can do alone. By volunteering, supporting your neighbours, recycling, getting involved in community activities and local decision-making, you are part of what makes Camden a great place to live.

There is no doubt we are seeing significant challenges as a borough – increases in rough sleeping, concerns about our young people’s safety, and cuts to our public sector partners like schools, health and the police. We are determined to protect the services residents rely on such as libraries, youth centres, sure start centres, parks, leisure centres and care for older people, and we will continue to work for a cleaner, greener Camden with better air quality.

Through our Community Investment Programme (CIP) we are investing in schools, community spaces and in building 1100 new homes for local residents. Close to half of all the new council homes built in London in 2017 were in Camden.

To encourage owners to bring homes that have been empty for a long time back into use, we have also decided to double council tax for homes that have been left empty for over two years. We want the homes in our borough to be lived in by local people who need housing.

At the heart of our work is protecting frontline services and making sure no one in Camden is left behind. The rise in council tax will be made up from a 2.99% core council tax increase, and an additional 1% dedicated to adult social care. This portion will go towards vital services for elderly residents, and those living with dementia, mental health issues and disabilities.

I hope this letter provides useful context about how we are managing to support local services, despite austerity. You can visit camden.gov.uk/counciltax to find out if you’re entitled to help with paying council tax. If you are struggling to pay your council tax, please get in touch.

 

Councillor Georgia Gould
Leader of the Council

How much is your council tax?

In the next year we will spend £839.7 million on providing services. The money for this comes from funding from central government, our share of retained business rates, the council tax you pay and other sources of income such as rents and fees.

Your council tax also helps pay for the Greater London Authority (GLA). In 2019/20 people who will pay council tax in Camden will contribute £29 million towards the cost of GLA services.

The table below shows how much Camden's council tax is for each band this year. On the front of your council tax bill it will tell you which band your property is in. The band is based on the value of your property. If you live in a garden square, you will pay slightly more to maintain the square. Your bill will also tell you how much you must pay and how you can make your payments.
 

How much is your council tax?

Band     Amount of tax
   for Camden (£)
Amount of
tax for GLA (£)
Total council tax
2019/2020 (£)
A
827.89
213.67
1,041.57
B
965.88
249.29
1,215.16
C
1,103.86
284.90
1,388.76
D
1,241.84
320.51
1,562.35
E
1,517.80
391.73
1,909.54
F
1,793.77
462.96
2,256.73
G
2,069.73
534.18
2,603.92
H
2,483.68
641.02
3,124.70

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Search for your council tax band

What we spend your council tax and business rates on

Each year, once we are aware of the amount of funding we will receive from the government, we set the level of council tax to meet the cost of providing council services in the borough.

This table tells you how much we plan to spend on services in the coming year and how much we spent on them last year. 

 

Council agreed budget    Spending     Total spending after deducting income              Spending    Total spending after deducting income       
                  2019/20                  2018/19

Our Services

            £ in millions

             £ in millions

Adult Social Care 135.076 97.458 134.500 96.400
Housing 32.569 18.423 32.400 18.800
Waste & Cleaning Services 34.767 24.479 31.200 21.290
Environment (Parking, highways and transport) 16.275 -25.447 15.400 -21.813
Regeneration, planning and economic development 10.803 0.090 12.800 2.349
Culture, communities and customers 26.172 20.569 25.300 20.074
Public Health 22.028 21.647 23.700 22.859
Support Services 55.596 55.609 52.800 53.171
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit 179.655 9.873 192.900 9.910
Education 188.235 11.644 190.000 12.400
Supporting vulnerable families 42.460 35.242 42.100 34.700
Early Years & Young People 50.210 14.924 39.900 14.800
Other Spending 45.888 -53.174 49.300 -60.400

Total cost of our services

839.733 231.338 842.300 224.540

 

How we work out your council tax

The table below shows how we work out the amount to be met by council tax.

Your total bill includes an amount to cover the cost of Greater London Authority (GLA) services.

How We Calculate your Council Tax 2019-2020  
  £ in millions
Total cost of Camden services
231.338
Take away the following government grants paid towards the cost of local services:  
Revenue support grant 0
Business Rate entitlement -122.125
Council Tax Collection Fund Surplus -0.400
Business Rates Collection Fund Deficit 3.600
Cost of Camden Council services which council tax will pay for:
112.413
Take away services covering only some areas of Camden (garden squares).
-0.026
Cost of remaining services which council tax will pay for
112.387
   
Working out the council tax level for 2019-2020
            2019-2020
Council tax base (weighted number of properties in Camden)
90,500
Council tax at band D
£1,241.84

Changes in spending

Changes to spending on services 2019 to 2020 £ in millions
   
2018/2019 cost of service
224.540
                        
2019/2020 Inflation                         7.000
2019/2020 Service cuts, back office efficiencies and savings
-11.477
Other service adjustments
11.275
   
Total 2019/2020 cost of service
231.338

 

Understanding your business rates bill

Non-Domestic Rates

Non-Domestic Rates, or business rates, collected by local authorities are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1st April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This provides a direct financial incentive for authorities to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth since authorities will benefit from growth in business rates revenues. The money, together with revenue from council tax payers, revenue support grant provided by the Government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by local authorities in your area. Further information about the business rates system, including transitional and other reliefs, may be obtained at www.gov.uk.

Rateable Value

Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the valuation officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. They draw up and maintain a full list of all rateable values, available at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/valuation-office-agency. The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1st April 2017, this date was set as 1st April 2015.

The valuation officer may alter the value if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can appeal against the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Full details on your rights of appeal are available from the Valuation Office Agency. Your billing authority can only backdate any business rates rebate to the date from which any change to the list is to have effect.

Further information about the grounds on which appeals may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the www.gov.uk website or obtained from your local valuation office.

National Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier

The local authority works out the business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate multiplier. There are two multipliers: the standard non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The former is higher to pay for small business rate relief. Except in the City of London where special arrangements apply, the Government sets the multipliers for each financial year for the whole of England according to formulae set by legislation.

The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.

Business Rates Instalments

Payment of business rate bills is automatically set on a 10-monthly cycle. However, the Government has put in place regulations that allow businesses to require their local authority to enable payments to be made through 12 monthly instalments. If you wish to take up this offer, you should contact the local authority as soon as possible.

Revaluation 2017 and Transitional Arrangements

All rateable values are reassessed at a general revaluation. The most recent revaluation took effect from 1st April 2017. Revaluations make sure each ratepayer pays their fair contribution and no more, by ensuring that the share of the national rates bill paid by any one ratepayer reflects changes over time in the value of their property relative to others. Revaluation does not raise extra money for Government.

Whilst the 2017 revaluation did not increase the amount of rates collected nationally, within this overall picture, the majority of ratepayers received a reduction or no change in their bill whereas some ratepayers saw increases.

A £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme limits changes in rate bills as a result of the 2017 revaluation. To help pay for the limits on increases in bills, there are also limits on reductions in bills. Under the transitional scheme, limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value times the appropriate multiplier). The scheme applies only to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation. If there are any changes to the property after 1st April 2017, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that relates to any increase in rateable value due to those changes. Changes to your bill as a result of other reasons (such as changes to the amount of small business rate relief) are not covered by the transitional arrangements.

The transitional arrangements are applied automatically and are shown on the front of your bill. Further information about transitional arrangements and other reliefs may be obtained from Camden or the www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates.

More information on the 2017 revaluation can be found at www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates/revaluation

Unoccupied Property Rating

Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order. In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. Full details on exemptions can be obtained from your local authority. If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of your bill.

Partly Occupied Property Relief

A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.

Small Business Rate Relief

Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 (and who are not entitled to other mandatory relief or are liable for unoccupied property rates) will have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier.

In addition, generally, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value which does not exceed £15,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 100%. For a property with a rateable value of not more than £12,000, the ratepayer will receive a 100% reduction in their rates bill.

Generally, this percentage reduction (relief) is only available to ratepayers who occupy either:

(a) one property, or

(b) one main property and other additional properties providing those additional properties each have a rateable value which does not exceed £2,899.

The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must not exceed £19,999 outside London or £27,999 in London on each day for which relief is being sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.

The Government has introduced additional support to small businesses. For those businesses that take on an additional property which would normally have meant the loss of small business rate relief, the Government has confirmed that they will be allowed to keep that relief for a period of 12 months.

Where a ratepayer meets the eligibility criteria and has not received the relief they should contact their local authority. Provided the ratepayer continues to satisfy the conditions for relief which apply at the relevant time as regards the property and the ratepayer, they will automatically continue to receive relief in each new valuation period.

Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the local authority by a ratepayer who is in receipt of relief (other changes will be picked up by the local authority). The changes which should be notified are:

(a) the ratepayer taking up occupation of an additional property, and

(b) an increase in the rateable value of a property occupied by the ratepayer in an area other than the area of the local authority which granted the relief.

Charity and Community Amateur Sports Club Relief

Charities and registered Community Amateur Sports Clubs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the charity or the club, and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the club (or of that and other clubs).

The local authority has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.

Relief for Local Newspapers

The Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year for 2 years from 1st April 2017, to office space occupied by local newspapers. This is up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits. The relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Eligibility criteria for this relief is set out in a guidance note: “The case for a business rates relief for local newspapers”, which can be obtained at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-case-for-a-business-rates-relief-for-local-newspapers

Spring Budget 2017 Relief Scheme: Supporting Small Business

Ratepayers losing Small Business or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the 2017 revaluation will have their increases limited to the greater of either (i) a cash value of £600 per year, or (ii) the matching cap on increases for small properties in the transitional relief scheme. This relief will run for 5 years to 31st March 2022 and rate payers will receive the relief until this date or they reach what their bill would have been within the relief scheme, whichever is first.

This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Further information can be obtained from your local authority.
 

Spring Budget 2017 Relief Scheme: Discretionary Scheme

The Government is providing £300 million of funding to local authorities over 4 years to 31st March 2021 to provide discounts to ratepayers in their area on a discretionary basis. Each authority has been allocated a share with which to design and implement a scheme to deliver targeted support to ratepayers. The £300m will cover the 4 years from 2017/18: £175m in 2017/18; £85m in 2018/19; £35m in 2019/20 and £5m in 2020/21.

Local authority allocations can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/discretionary-business-rates-relief-scheme

This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Further information can be obtained from your local authority.

Autumn Budget 2018 Relief Scheme: Retail Discount

At Autumn Budget 2018, the Government announced a one-third discount for eligible retail businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, up to state aid limits. This scheme will run for two years from April 2019. This discount will be applied to the bill after the application of any reliefs, excluding any local discounts.

The Government has issued guidance on the operation of the scheme, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/discretionary-business-rates-relief-scheme.

This relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Further information can be obtained from your local authority.

Local Discounts

Local authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
State Aid. The award of such discounts is considered likely to amount to state aid. However it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013. The De Minimis Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 'de minimis' aid over a rolling three year period. If you are receiving, or have received, any 'de minimis' aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should inform the local authority immediately with details of the aid received.

Hardship Relief

The local authority has discretion to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.

Rating advisers

Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS - website www.rics.org) and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV - website www.irrv.org.uk) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further ad-vice before entering into any contract.

Information Supplied with Demand Notices

Information relating to the relevant and previous financial years in regard to the gross expenditure of the local authority is available in the other sections on this page. A hard copy is available on request by writing to the council or at 020 7974 6460.

Business Rate Supplements

The Business Rate Supplements Act 2009 enables levying authorities - county councils, unitary district councils and, in London, the Greater London Authority - to levy a supplement on the business rate to support additional projects aimed at economic development of the area. Business Rate Supplements (BRS) are not applicable to properties with a rateable value of £70,000 or below, and authorities have discretion to increase that threshold. The total maximum BRS which may be levied by a levying authority is 2p per pound of rateable value. Levying authorities have the power to apply such reliefs to the BRS as they think appropriate and in such cases must include an explanation of the rules for the application of those reliefs in the final prospectus for the BRS.

These/this business rate supplement/s is/are being levied by the Greater London Authority in relation to Crossrail. Further information may be found in the BRS project prospectus here

The Adult Social Care Precept

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has made an offer to adult social care authorities of  being able to charge an additional “precept” on its council tax from the financial year beginning in 2016 without holding a referendum. This is  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. 

“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.