Council Tax budgets and spending

Elected councillors agree a budget each year that shows how much money we will need for the services we will be providing, and where the money will come from. Council Tax has to make up the difference between the amount we receive from other sources and the total it costs us to provide our services. This difference is called the Council Tax requirement.

Council Tax bills also include charges from local town and parish councils, Cheshire Police, and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. Each of these organisations sets their own budget for the services they provide. 

Council Tax budget summary 2017/18 

For 2017/18, the budgets to be met from Council Tax in the Cheshire East Council area are:

Council Tax budget summary 2017/18
Authority  2017/18 2016/17
   £m  £m
Cheshire East Council 191.055 179.433
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire 23.712 22.925
Cheshire Fire Authority 10.569 10.218
Town and parish councils 6.891 6.391

We have increased Council Tax by 4.99% for 2017/18. The 4.99% is made up of two elements: a 1.99% general increase, and a 3% increase dedicated to adult social care (the Adult Social Care Levy). The extra adult social care charge follows the central government ruling that allows local authorities to raise up to 3% specifically for adult social care in any single year, subject to a maximum of 6% over a three-year period. We plan to split this 6% equally over two years - 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.

The 2017/2018 increase is only the second increase since 2010/2011. We froze Council Tax levels for 5 years from 2011/2012 to 2015/2016, with some central government support. During those 5 years, we saved Council Tax payers a total of nearly £50m and continued to provide services that met the needs of local residents.

There are three reasons for this year's increase: 

  • there is growing demand for adult social care
  • the costs of providing services is rising
  • central government is cutting what they give to local authorities and expecting them to raise more money themselves - from 2019/20, we won't get any general support grant at all. 

Business growth is helping to bring in more money from Business Rates, and the growth in house building should mean more Council Tax payers and higher Council Tax income. But it will still be a major challenge to raise the amount of money to cover what's needed.

Changes between the 2016/17 and 2017/18 budgets 

We need to raise £12.1 million more from Council Tax including town and parish charges in 2017/18 than we did in 2016/17. This is because although we plan to spend less, we will also receive less in grants.

Changes between the 2016/17 and 2017/18 budgets
Income or expenditure categoryChange to Council Tax requirement between 2016/2017 and 2017/2018
Reduced spending on services -3.6
Reduced income from services 3.7
Reduction in Revenue Support Grant 12.9
Reduction in Specific Grant 1.9
Higher level of retained Business Rates - A -1.3
Reduced contribution from previous years' surplus 1.1
Reduced contribution to reserves -3.0
Increased town and parish council charges 0.5
Other -0.1
Total 12.1


A - Local authorities give a proportion of the Business Rates they collect to central government for redistribution in government grants and keep a proportion for themselves as retained Business Rates.The proportions are changing, meaning we can keep more of our Business Rates income to spend in the borough.

How we spend our income

We split our services into service portfolio areas. Elected councillors decide how to share out our income between the service portfolio areas based on what managers say is needed. Each service portfolio is under the control of a portfolio holder, who is an elected councillor. Some services are looked after by more than one portfolio holder, which means the budget is split between two spending areas. 

Spending by service portfolio area


Breakdown of income and expenditure by service portfolio area

Breakdown of income and expenditure by service portfolio area
Area of spending2017/18 gross expenditure (amount of money needed) - A 2017/18 service specific income (not from Council Tax or Business rates) - B 2017/18 net expenditure (amount needed after deducting service-specific income) - C2016/17 net expenditure (amount spent after deducting service-specific income) - C 
   £m  £m  £m  £m
Schools  156.113 156.113 0 0
Adults care and integration 131.614 35.274 96.340 93.933
Children and families 49.836 4.177  45.659 44.064

and health

61.462 27.364 34.098 35.385
Highways and infrastructure 34.432 4.713 29.719 30.840
Finance and assets    56.743 27.794 28.949 30.041
Corporate policy and legal services  12.191 3.266 8.925  9.262
Housing and planning 3.702 0.049 3.653 3.791
Regeneration 11.179 8.672 2.508 2.602
Housing benefits  78.068 78.068 0 0
Reserves 0 0.148 -0.148 2.811
Capital projects
14.000 0 14.000 14.000
Total - D 609.341 345.638  263.703  266.728


A - The gross expenditure columns shows what we plan to spend in 2017/2018

B - Service-specific income includes income from:

  • grants that can only be used for the particular service
  • fees and charges for services
  • other external contributions for the particular service

C - The net expenditure figure is the amount left after deducting the sum in the income column. This is the amount of money we need to cover from  general income. General income comes from Council Tax, Business Rates and government grants.

D - The totals line shows that after taking into account income we receive for specific spending areas, we still need to raise £263.703 million to cover the costs of services. This money has to come from general income - Council Tax, Business Rates and central government grants.

What each area of spending covers


  • Schools that are under local authority control (not academies or free schools).
  • The schools budget is fully funded by grants from central government, so we don’t need to raise money for this from Council Tax.

Adult care and integration

  • Adult social workers
  • Care services (delivered through contracts with other organisations)
  • Carer services
  • Acting as the lead organisation for development of adult mental health services in Cheshire East
  • Domestic violence services

Children and families

  • Children’s and family social workers
  • Children’s homes
  • Adoption and fostering
  • Extra support for children with learning difficulties or disabilities
  • Youth support
  • Youth offender support
  • Acting as lead organisation for the development of children’s and young people’s mental health services in Cheshire East

Communities and health

  • Support for Citizen’s Advice Bureaux
  • Safer communities – including wardens, CCTV and dealing with anti-social behaviour
  • Regulatory services, including trading standards and licensing
  • Environmental health, including air quality
  • Gypsies and travellers
  • Libraries
  • Car parks
  • Acting as lead organisation for health and social care services development in Cheshire East

Highways and infrastructure

  • Transport planning
  • Roads and road safety
  • Work to support rail projects, including work for HS2
  • Digital and customer access services (includes website and customer service teams)
  • Leisure and cultural services, including tourism and park rangers

Finance and assets

  • Budgeting and business planning and management
  • Capital programme planning
  • Pensions
  • Council Tax, Business Rates, and Benefits teams and operations
  • Electoral services
  • Registrars - births, marriages and deaths
  • Asset management – maintenance, sales and purchase
  • Communications and media relations
  • Training for elected councillors

Corporate policy and legal services

  • Human resources, training and development
  • Health and safety
  • Business improvement programme
  • Customer complaints
  • Procurement and contracts
  • Management fee for running leisure centres and other recreational activities
  • Waste, recycling, and street cleaning
  • Crematoriums and cemeteries
  • School and community transport and school crossing patrols 
  • Legal services
  • Monitoring Council compliance with decision making processes
  • Equality and diversity
  • ICT – shared with Cheshire West
  • Transactional services (payments administration) – shared with Cheshire West

Housing and planning

  • Planning services
  • Housing, housing associations and homelessness
  • Development management and building control
  • Heritage
  • Macclesfield town centre scheme


  • Economic development
  • Employment and skills support
  • Farms
  • Energy issues
  • Support for development projects

You can find a full explanation of how we produced the 2017/2018 Budget in the Medium Term Financial Strategy Report

Service commissioning

Many of our services are now provided through contracts with other organisations rather than directly by Cheshire East Council staff. This is called commissioning. We then pay the other organisation to provide the relevant services. This money comes out of the relevant service portfolio budget.

We have created our own companies to provide some types of services. We've done this because companies can access funds and sources of income that we as a council can't. A share of the profits from these companies comes back to us to help fund services. For more information about these companies, see  Best fit services

Sources of general income

Sources of general income
Source of incomeAmount 2017/18Amount 2016/17 
  £m £m
Business rates retained 40.973 39.679
Revenue support grant (central government) 13.415 26.340
Specific grant (central government) 16.909 18.826
Collection fund (Council Tax surplus from previous years) 1.350 2.451
Cheshire East Borough Council Tax 191.055 179.432
Total general income  263.703 266.728


Capital spending

Our ongoing programme of capital investment includes investment in assets such as roads, land and buildings, equipment and vehicles. 

We often spread the costs and benefits of this investment over a number of years. In 2017/18, we plan to spend £116.3m on capital investment. This spending will be funded by a combination of government grants, affordable borrowing, developer contributions and proceeds from the sale of assets.

Breakdown of income and expenditure by service portfolio area for capital spending

Breakdown of income and expenditure by service portfolio area
Service portfolio areaCapital expenditure 2017/18 
Schools 15.5
Adults care and integration 0.7
Children and families 1.1
Communities and health 7.0
Highways and infrastructure 45.4
Finance and assets    10.5
Corporate policy and legal services  15.8
Housing and planning 11.6
Regeneration 8.7 
Total  116.3

Detailed budget information

Our budget pages and PDF documents give full details of our budgets. On these budget pages, some areas of spending have the same name as the service portfolio but show a different figure from that given on this page. This is because on the budget pages we break the spending down into a wider number of service areas. To read the full budget breakdown, see  Cheshire East budget.