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 Constabulary, and Cheshire Fire Authority. Each of these organisations sets their own budget for the services they provide. 

Council Tax budget summary 2021/22 

For 2021/22, the budgets to be met from Council Tax in the Cheshire East Council area are:

Council Tax budget summary
   £m  £m
Cheshire East Council 242.849 229.504
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire 34.672 32.113
Cheshire Fire Authority 12.437 12.099
Town and parish councils 9.093 8.750

We have increased Council Tax by 4.99% for 2021/22.

The 2021/22 increase is only the sixth increase since 2010/11. We froze Council Tax levels for 5 years from 2011/12 to 2015/16, 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 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 haven't had 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 2020/21 and 2021/22 budgets

We need to raise £13.7 million more from Council Tax including town and parish charges in 2021/22 than we did in 2020/21. This is due to inflation and higher demand for key services.

Changes between the 2020/21 and 2021/22 budgets
Income or expenditure categoryChange to Council Tax requirement between 2020/21 and 2021/22
Reduced net spending on services 18.8
Increased growth in service demand and inflation pressures -10.3
Decrease in Specific Grant 2.4
Lower level of retained Business Rates - A 0.7
Increased town and parish council charges 0.3
Change in central budgets 1.8
Total 13.7


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.

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

Gross Expenditure Budget 2021-22


Breakdown of income and expenditure by service portfolio area

Breakdown of income and expenditure by service portfolio area
Area of spending2021/22 gross expenditure (amount of money needed) - A 2021/22 service specific income (not from Council Tax or Business Rates) - B 2021/22 net expenditure (amount needed after deducting service-specific income) - C2020/21 net expenditure (amount spent after deducting service-specific income) - C 
   £m  £m  £m  £m
Schools  158.369 -158.369 0.000 0.000
Deputy Leader (responsible for Transport) 5.746  -0.182  5.564  5.538
Adult Social Care and Health 161.054 -42.096 118.958 116.891
Children and Families 74.346 -6.066 68.280 64.077
Planning 6.835  -6.119


Environment and Regeneration 67.315 -13.402  53.913  52.320
Public Health and Corporate Services 35.636 -21.281   14.355  17.014
Highways and Waste 17.687  -11.858 5.829 6.455
Finance, IT and Communication 45.592 -24.951 20.641 17.093
Communities 10.711 -1.767 8.944 8.753
Housing Benefits 48.455 -47.237 1.218 0.000
Central Budgets  1.917 -4.567 -2.650 0.813
Reserves 2.022 -0.694 1.328 -0.695
Capital Projects
15.401 -1.401 14.000 12.000
Total - D 651.086 -339.990 311.096 301.002


A - The gross expenditure columns shows what we plan to spend in 2021/22

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 £311.1 million to cover the costs of services. This money has to come from general income - Council Tax, Business Rates and central government grants.

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 2021/22Amount 2020/21 
  £m £m
Business Rates retained 49.086 49.786
Revenue support grant (central government) 0.000 0.000
Specific grant (central government) 19.164 21.564
Collection fund (Council Tax surplus from previous years)* 0.000 0.147
Cheshire East Borough Council Tax 242.849 229.504
Total general income  311.099 301.001

 * Now managed through the Collection Fund Earmarked Reserve 

 Council Funding Sources 2021-22

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 2021/22, we plan to spend £171.3m 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 2021/21 
Schools 22.1
Deputy Leader (responsible for Transport) 63.9
Adult Social Care and Health 0.4
Children and Families 0.6
Planning 0.1
Environment and Regeneration 31.3
Public Health and Corporate Services    0.0
Highways and Waste 27.5
Finance, IT and Communication 14.5
Communities 10.9
Total  171.3

Detailed budget information

Our budget pages 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.  

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Page last reviewed: 06 September 2021