Council tax budget 2024-25

Your council tax 2023-24

For more information you can read the full budget report.

An increase in the Kingston element of your council tax has been agreed to help the borough meet the financial pressures of looking after our most vulnerable adults and children, as well as those struggling with rising living costs.

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

The total increase in the Kingston element of your council tax for 2023-24 will be 2.99%, along with a 2% increase in the adult social care precept, whilst the GLA is increasing its element by 9.7%.

This is equivalent to approximately £1.66 a week extra for a Band D Household for the Kingston Council element and a further £0.74 a week for the GLA part.

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 2023-24 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 – inequalities which have become even more apparent as a result of the current cost of living crisis. It supports job creation and London’s business community, 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, funding to maintain the capital’s transport services and tackling toxic air pollution and the climate emergency. The budget also provides resources to support jobs and growth, fund skills and retraining programmes, help rough sleepers, invest in services for children and young people and make London a fairer and cleaner place for everyone to live. Moreover, it prioritises resources for the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade to keep Londoners safe, including violence reduction initiatives, support for victims of crime, recruitment drives for additional frontline officers and projects to divert vulnerable young people away from the criminal justice system. The Mayor is also responding to the cost of living crisis by providing £130 million of new funding to ensure all primary school pupils can receive free school meals in the 2023-24 school year.

In light of the significant reductions in fares revenue since the pandemic, it has been necessary to provide additional resources through local taxation income to maintain London’s transport system including investing in preserving the bus network . However, this budget remains focused on delivering a swift and sustainable economic recovery across the capital as well as 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 £38.55 (or 74p per week) to £434.14. 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 funding arrangements. Council taxpayers in the City of London, which has its own police force, will pay £142.01

Band D Council Tax (£)


2022-23 Change 2023-24
MOPAC (Metropolitan Police)


15.00 292.13
LFC (London Fire Brigade)


3.68 62.48


-0.13 22.44
Transport Services


20.00 57.09


38.55 434.14

Investing in frontline services
This budget will enable the Mayor to fulfil 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. His precept increase for 2023-24 will also be used to fund the recruitment of an additional 500 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

Tackling the underlying causes of crime through the rollout of funding to support disadvantaged young Londoners to 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 per cent of occasions and 12 minutes on at least 95 per cent 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. The London Fire Commissioner, with the full support of the Mayor, is also committed to implementing the deep-rooted reform needed to the culture and systems within the LFB.

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.

Completing the final stages to deliver the full operation of and timetable for the Elizabeth line by no later than May 2023. The line has increased central London’s rail capacity by ten per cent and saw over 100 million passenger journeys during its first eight months. This follows on from the opening of Northern line extension to Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station in September 2021.

Continuing to tackle London’s housing crisis, by investing £6.9 billion to allow 116,000 affordable home starts within London by the end of 2023 year and an additional 165,000 affordable homes starts by 2026, as well as allocating resources to tackle homelessness and reduce rough sleeping.

Tackling the climate emergency including creating a new £134 million Environmental Improvement fund to help deliver the Mayor’s target for London to be carbon net zero by 2030. The Mayor is also expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) London-wide to tackle air pollution, supported by a £110 million vehicle scrappage scheme for small businesses and Londoners in receipt of low income and disability benefits to help them switch to cleaner vehicles or retrofit their existing ones.

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 GLA’s planned gross expenditure is higher this year. This reflects the additional resources the Mayor is investing in policing, the fire brigade and transport services. Overall the council tax requirement has increased because of the extra resources for the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade and to secure funding to maintain existing transport services including buses and the tube network. There has been a 1.6 per cent increase in London’s residential property taxbase. Find out more about our budget at:

How the GLA’s budget is funded
(£ million)


Gross expenditure


Government grants and retained business rates


Fares, charges and other income


Change in reserves


Amount met by council taxpayers (£m)

Changes in spending (£ million) 2023-24

2022-23 council tax requirement

Net change in service expenditure and income -108.4
Change in use of reserves -278.3

Government grants and retained business rates


Other changes


Amount met by council taxpayers (£m)



Last Modified: 19/01/2024 14:40:17