Letter from the Leader of the Council

Dear resident,

Over the past decade the government has halved our funding, and while this means we have less money to help, more residents are turning to us for support. That’s why, as part of our long-term approach to managing our finances, we’ve made the decision to increase council tax by 3.99% this year. This means you’ll pay an extra 78p to £2.35 per week depending on what band you are in. This is necessary to provide funding for the public services we deliver and will be the difference that allows valued services like libraries and youth centres to stay open.


Every penny we do have is being invested in tackling the issues you’ve told us are the most important - keeping our residents safe, supporting families and elderly residents when they face difficulties, protecting much-loved libraries and community centres, building new council homes, looking after our streets and green spaces, and tackling poverty and the climate crisis.


We’re also continuing to take a long-term approach to budgeting, investing at a much earlier stage to support people who are struggling and trying to prevent issues happening in the first place. For example, we have all been devastated by the rise in knife crime, so we have increased support for young people over the last two years because we want every young person to be safe on the streets of Camden and to have access to the amazing opportunities on their doorstep.


We still have some big challenges though. In Camden, housing costs are going up and a decade of government cuts means there are too many children living in poverty, and too many residents living from one pay cheque to the next, who don’t feel like they can make their lives better.
That’s why continuing to invest in Council Tax Support (CTS) remains vital and means 10,000 of our lowest income households won’t pay council tax. We’ve also just updated the scheme to make it fairer and simpler, particularly for those on Universal Credit. If you’re on CTS, please read the letter and leaflet that you’ll be receiving shortly which explains the changes in more detail.


At the heart of our work is protecting our frontline services, which is why half of the money raised from this year’s council tax increase will be dedicated to protecting adult social care services for elderly residents, those living with dementia, mental health issues and disabilities, so they can all live full lives as part of our community. The rest will be used to fund some of the other vital services we provide, which will make a huge impact at a difficult time.


Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you. The Camden I know and love pulls together in times of challenge. From thinking of new ideas to tackle the climate crisis to checking in on a neighbour, your help and support remains vital as we work towards achieving our shared goal of a borough where everyone has the chance to succeed and nobody gets left behind.


I hope this letter explains how we are managing to support local services and why we have raised council tax. To find out if you’re entitled to help with paying council tax via Council Tax Support, go to camden.gov.uk/benefits. If you’re struggling to pay your council tax, please call us on 020 7974 6414.


Many thanks,

Councillor Georgia Gould
Leader of the Council

How much is your council tax?

In the next year we will spend £864.9 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 2020/21 people who will pay council tax in Camden will contribute £30.78 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
2020/2021 (£)
A
860.92
221.38
1,082.30
B
1,004.41
258.28
1,262.69
C
1,147.89
295.17
1,443.06
D
1,291.38
332.07
1,623.45
E
1,578.35
405.86
1,984.21
F
1,865.33
479.66
2,344.99
G
2,152.30
553.45
2,705.75
H
2,582.76
664.14
3,246.90

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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       
                  2020/21                  2019/20

Our Services

            £ in millions

             £ in millions

Adult Social Care 134.183 95.834 135.076 97.458
Housing 34.130 20.862 32.569 18.423
Waste & Cleaning Services 35.791 23.301 34.767 24.479
Environment (Parking, highways and transport) 17.881 -26.060 16.275 -25.447
Regeneration, planning and economic development 16.057 -0.442 10.803 0.090
Culture, communities and customers 27.354 21.459 26.172 20.569
Public Health 22.274 21.901 22.028 21.647
Support Services 56.660 62.177 55.596 55.609
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit 167.490 8.635 179.655 9.873
Education 204.112 15.148 188.235 11.644
Supporting vulnerable families 46.347 39.214 42.460 35.242
Early Years & Young People 40.946 17.786 50.210 14.924
Other Spending 61.699 -50.192 45.888 -53.174

Total cost of our services

864.923 249.624 839.733 231.338

 

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 2020-2021  
  £ in millions
Total cost of Camden services
249.624
Take away the following government grants paid towards the cost of local services:  
Revenue support grant -22.681
Retained Business Rates -102.592
Council Tax Collection Fund Surplus -2.992
Business Rates Collection Fund Deficit -1.622
Cost of Camden Council services which council tax will pay for:
119.737
Take away services covering only some areas of Camden (garden squares).
-0.026
Cost of remaining services which council tax will pay for
119.711
   
Working out the council tax level for 2020-2021
            2019-2020
Council tax base (weighted number of properties in Camden)
92,700
Council tax at band D
£1,291.38

Changes in spending

Changes to spending on services 2019 to 2020 £ in millions
   
2019/2020 cost of service
231.337
                        
2020/2021 Inflation                         7.010
2020/2021 Service cuts, back office efficiencies and savings
-10.204
Other service adjustments
21.481
   
Total 2020/2021 cost of service
249.624

 

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 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.