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 2018/19 

For 2018/19, the budgets to be met from Council Tax in the Cheshire East Council area are:

Council Tax budget summary
Authority  2018/19 2017/18
   £m  £m
Cheshire East Council 206.434 191.055
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire 25.937 23.712
Cheshire Fire Authority 11.096 10.569
Town and parish councils 7.362 6.891

We have increased Council Tax by 5.99% for 2018/19. The 5.99% is made up of two elements: a 2.99% 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.

The 2018/2019 increase is only the third 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 2017/18 and 2018/18 budgets 

We need to raise £15.9 million more from Council Tax including town and parish charges in 2018/19 than we did in 2017/18. This is a mixture of less government grant and higher demand for key services.

Changes between the 2017/18 and 2018/19 budgets
Income or expenditure categoryChange to Council Tax requirement between 2017/2018 and 2018/2019
Reduced net spending on services -9.4
Increased growth in service demand and inflation pressures 19.5
Reduction in Revenue Support Grant 8.0
Reduction in Specific Grant 4.0
Higher level of retained Business Rates - A -2.0
Reduced contribution from previous years surplus 0.4
Increased town and parish council charges 0.5
Change in central budgets -5.1
Total 15.9


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 2018-19

Breakdown of income and expenditure by service portfolio area

Breakdown of income and expenditure by service portfolio area
Area of spending2018/19 gross expenditure (amount of money needed) - A 2018/19 service specific income (not from Council Tax or Business rates) - B 2018/19 net expenditure (amount needed after deducting service-specific income) - C2017/18 net expenditure (amount spent after deducting service-specific income) - C 
   £m  £m  £m  £m
Schools  156.322 156.322 0 0
Adult Social Care and integration 144.238 38.551 105.687 99.835
Children and Families 62.856 5.263 57.593 54.404

Corporate Policy and Legal services

13.724 3.329 10.395 9.901
Finance and Communication 42.385 30.584 11.801 14.278
Health    26.150 17.105 9.045 8.916
Environment  62.906 18.850 44.056 43.627
Housing, Planning and Regeneration 33.018 12.787 20.231 17.719
Housing benefits 70.391 70.391 0.000 0.000
Central budgets  2.263 2.000 0.263 1.163
Reserves 0 0.304 -0.304 -0.140
Capital projects
10.000 0 10.000 14.000
Total - D 624.253 355.486  268.767  263.703


A - The gross expenditure columns shows what we plan to spend in 2018/2019

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 £268.8 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 2018/19Amount 2017/18 
  £m £m
Business Rates retained 42.967 40.973
Revenue support grant (central government) 5.416 13.415
Specific grant (central government) 12.950 16.909
Collection fund (Council Tax surplus from previous years) 1.000 1.350
Cheshire East Borough Council Tax 206.434 191.055
Total general income  268.767 263.703

Council Funding Sources 2018-19

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 2018/19, we plan to spend £127.1m 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 2018/19 
Schools 30.2
Highways and Transport 1.4
Adult Social Care & integration 0.0
Children and Families 0.6
Corporate Policy and Legal Services 0.0
Finance and Communication 16.0
Health    6.0
Environment 56.4
Housing, Planning and Regeneration 16.4
Total  127.1

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.  

For full cabinet member responsibilities and titles since 2017/18, see Cabinet Members (PDF, 219KB).