Council tax budget 22/23

Your Council Tax 2022/23

For more information you can read the full budget report. 

A council tax increase of 1.99% has been agreed for 2022/23 to help the borough meet the financial pressures of looking after our most vulnerable adults and children, as well as the impact of the pandemic.

Your council tax has two elements, a part which is set by, and goes to, the GLA (Greater London Authority) and another part which is set by Kingston to pay for our vital services.

You can find out more about council tax bands and how much you owe on our band charges page.

Council tax questions and answers

How is my Council Tax broken down?
  • Kingston Council expenditure - e.g. social care, waste collection, libraries

  • Expenditure related to the Greater London Authority (GLA) which is called the GLA precept - eg Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, and the Fire Brigade.

Why is our council tax one of the highest in London?

The overall Government grant we receive in Kingston has historically always been low compared to most other London boroughs, because Kingston is seen by the Government as an area of low need. Every year, we argue that we should receive more funding. As things stand, to meet the costs of providing vital local services, we need to raise more money through council tax. Our council tax would be considerably lower if we received a similar government grant to some of our neighbours.

Why doesn't the council just use its reserves instead of making cuts?

 

The Government has highlighted some local authorities as having significant financial reserves, but we're not one of them; our reserves are among the lowest in London. Continually dipping into them to help cope with the pressures we're facing would not be a sustainable way to deliver a balanced budget. Reserves, like your savings, can only be spent once, so eating into them simply puts off the tough choices for the next year. In general, reserves need to be kept aside to cover for unforeseen events and specific projects rather than business-as-usual budget planning.

 

Can't councils just refuse to implement cuts?

 

We are not legally allowed to set a budget that does not balance. If we did, the consequences would be hugely damaging to the people of Kingston - unelected civil servants appointed by central government would be drafted in to implement cuts to services with a lot less regard for local people and understanding of our borough. We are not willing to let that happen, and while we will continue to lobby the Government to continue investing in our local services, it is our responsibility to set a balanced budget to protect our residents from further damage.

 

Why don't you cut the number of back-office staff rather than frontline services?

 

We already have; we've been under financial pressure for several years now and have had to evolve to become leaner and more flexible. Since 2011 we have made significant staffing cuts because of the withdrawal of government funding, and our approach has focused on protecting frontline services as much as possible. We've shared services with other councils, renegotiated our major contracts to achieve efficiency savings and we're reviewing our assets. That means that we are better equipped to tackle this challenge than many other councils. Back office staff play just as important a role as their front line colleagues. Their contribution ensures that front line staff are well prepared and free to do their jobs effectively.

 

Why don't you put up business rates instead?

 

We couldn't put up business rates even if we wanted to - they are set on a national basis by the Government. An increase in business rates would in any case not tackle our budget challenge on its own, because as things stand, we only keep approximately 30% of the business rates we collect. Nonetheless we are exploring ways to generate more income by supporting the setup of new businesses, which will increase our business rate receipts. However, we also need to remember that the pandemic has had a huge impact on local businesses and many are still struggling. We are doing all we can to help them recover.

Your council tax and the Greater London Authority

The Mayor of London’s budget for the 2022-23 financial year sets out his priorities to support London’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to tackle the huge social, health and economic inequalities which it has exposed and exacerbated, and which have become even more apparent as a result of the current cost of living crisis. It supports job creation and London’s businesses (both large and small), our city’s future growth and economic success and the Mayor’s vision to rebuild London as a greener, cleaner and safer city with stronger and more cohesive communities.

This year’s budget will provide resources to improve the key public services Londoners need. This includes delivering more genuinely affordable homes, securing funding to maintain the capital’s transport infrastructure and tackling toxic air pollution and the climate emergency. The budget also provides resources to support jobs and growth, fund skills and retraining programs, help rough sleepers, invest in youth services and make London a fairer and cleaner place to live.

The budget prioritises resources for the Metropolitan Police Service and London Fire Brigade to keep Londoners safe, including violence reduction initiatives and initiatives to improve opportunities for young Londoners. In light of the significant reductions in fare revenues and property tax income following the pandemic, some difficult decisions have been unavoidable. However, this budget remains focused on delivering a swift and sustainable recovery and building the better, brighter, fairer future all Londoners want and deserve.

Council tax for GLA services

The GLA’s share of the council tax for a typical Band D property has been increased by £31.93 (or 61p per week) to £395.59. The additional income raised will fund the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade and will also go towards ensuring existing public transport services in London can be maintained, meeting requirements set by the government in COVID-19 funding arrangements. Council taxpayers in the City of London, which has its own police force, will pay £118.46.

Band D Council Tax (£)

2021-22

Change

2022-23

MOPAC (Metropolitan Police)

267.13

10.00

277.13

LFC (London Fire Brigade)

56.87

1.93

58.80

GLA

22.57

0.00

22.57

Transport Services

17.09

20.00

37.09

Total

363.66

31.93

395.59

 Investing in frontline services

This budget will enable the Mayor to fulfill his key priorities for London. These include:

  • ensuring the Metropolitan Police has the resources it needs to tackle violent crime – since 2019 the Mayor has funded 1,300 additional police officer posts from locally-raised council tax and business rates revenues – while seeking to increase trust and confidence amongst Londoners in the police service

  • tackling the underlying causes of crime through the rollout of funding to support disadvantaged young Londoners access positive opportunities and constructive activities that allow them to make the most of their potential, as well as resources for new violence reduction initiatives

  • protecting vulnerable children and women at risk of abuse and domestic violence

  • providing enough resources to the London Fire Brigade (LFB) to ensure that first and second fire engines arrive at emergency incidents within 10 minutes on at least 90 percent of occasions and 12 minutes on at least 95 percent of occasions respectively, after being dispatched. The Mayor is also providing resources to rollout a transformation programme so that the LFB can implement the recommendations of the Grenfell fire inquiry. This includes investing in the new vehicles and equipment required

  • working with London boroughs to maintain existing concessionary travel and assisted door to door transport schemes. This includes, for example, maintaining free bus and tram travel for under 18s as well as free off-peak travel across the network for older Londoners, the disabled, armed forces personnel in uniform and eligible armed services veterans and protecting the Taxicard and Dial a Ride schemes

  • continuing the Hopper bus fare, which makes transport more affordable for millions of Londoners

  • opening the central London section of the Elizabeth line (the operational name for Crossrail) in the first half of 2022, followed by the full line opening with through services as soon as possible to increase central London’s rail capacity by ten percent. This will follow the successful opening of the Northern line extension to Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station in September 2021

  • continuing to tackle London’s housing crisis, by investing £4.9 billion to allow 116,000 affordable home starts within London by 2023 and an additional 35,000 starts by 2026, as well as allocating resources to tackle homelessness and reduce rough sleeping

  • tackling the climate emergency through creating a new £90 million fund alongside the continued roll out of the Mayor’s £50 million Green New Deal for London fund. The Mayor has already expanded the Ultra Low Emission Zone to the North and South Circular roads in Autumn 2021 to tackle air pollution

  • investing in projects to enable more walking and cycling across London

  • funding projects to bring Londoners together, promote arts, sports and culture, help tackle inequality and improve the environment.

Summary of GLA budget

The following tables compare the GLA group’s planned spending for 2022-23 with last year and sets out why it has changed. The GLA’s planned gross expenditure is lower this year. This overall reduction is mainly due to the need to repay deficits in council tax and business rates income due to the impact of the pandemic albeit the Mayor has increased his proposed spending on services including policing. Overall the council tax requirement has increased because of the extra resources for the Metropolitan Police Service and the London Fire Brigade and to secure funding to maintain existing transport services. There has also been a 1.7 per cent increase in London’s residential property taxbase. Find out more about our budget at: www.london.gov.uk/budget

How the GLA’s budget is funded

(£ million)

2022-23

Gross expenditure

14,950.3

Government grants and retained business rates

-6,974.8

Fares, charges and other income

-6,781.5

Change in reserves

19.6

Amount met by council taxpayers (£m)

1,213.6

 

Changes in spending (£ million)

2022-23

2021-22 council tax requirement

1,096.6

Net change in service expenditure and income

-1.034.7

Change in use of reserves

759.2

Government grants and retained business rates

391.3

Other changes

1.2

Amount met by council taxpayers (£m)

1,213.6

Applying for a council tax reduction

Find out if you're eligible for help with paying your council tax on our council tax reduction page.

Last Modified: 27/06/2022 17:07:45