How your Council Tax is spent

View our Council Tax leaflet about how we spend your money.

Our annual leaflet below sets out details of your council tax, including West Sussex County Council's planned spending, Government grants which support our spending and changes to our costs.

For more details on how budgets for Cabinet members’ responsibilities (their portfolios) have changed from year to year, we recommend that you download the County Council's Budget Book 2023/24 and refer to the 'change in spending' pages that follow each portfolio summary (appendix 6, page 12 onwards). This contains much more information on our spending than we can include on this council tax leaflet.

Please note that council tax is collected by your district or borough council. You can find more information via How to pay Council Tax.

Frequently asked questions

What extra support is available to people struggling to pay their council tax?

The Government has provided funding so that working age people and pensioners who claim Council Tax reduction relief can receive additional help.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the cost of living challenge, your district or borough council will be able to advise on available support for council tax payments.

For their contact details, please see your council tax bill. You can also find the relevant council by entering your postcode on How to Pay Council Tax.

Further help, advice and practical support is available on our Cost of living web pages.

Why is an increase in council tax necessary?

The 2023/24 budget has been set against a challenging background of increased costs resulting from the global cost of living challenge and increased demand on our teams providing vital services to those adults, families and children who need our support.

Our Our Council Plan provides the framework for the County Council’s decision making and planning to ensure we are making the very best use of the resources available, understanding the value for money we deliver and, at the same time, remaining focussed on delivering the areas which will make the biggest difference to the lives of our residents and the future prosperity of the county.

These are tough times and, with residents already under pressure from rising household bills, the decision to increase the council tax was not taken lightly. However, to enable us to deliver our priorities and protect vital services, the County Council has approved a Council Tax increase of 2.99% to support the cost of general services. In addition, a further 2.0% has been agreed to fund the increasing costs of supporting more vulnerable adults with a greater complexity of need and to support our local care market. Therefore, the total increase in Council Tax for 2023/24 is 4.99%.

Why is the increase 4.99 per cent?

For 2023/24, the Government has set a reasonableness threshold so local authorities can raise core council tax by up to 3.0%, without holding a local referendum. Additionally, councils with social care responsibilities can increase their council tax by a further 2.0% for adult social care.

The increase of 4.99% reflects these principles with a rise of 2.99% approved for the general increase plus an additional levy of 2.0% for the 'adult social care precept', which the Government introduced through legislation in 2016. This part of the increase will support the delivery of existing adult services alongside implementing planned service improvements and developments.

Legislation - Adult Social Care Precept

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government made an offer to adult social care authorities. ('Adult social care authorities' are local authorities which have functions under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014, namely county councils in England, district councils for an area in England for which there is no county council, London borough councils, the Common Council of the City of London and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.)

The offer was the option of an adult social care authority being able to charge an additional 'precept' on its council tax without holding a referendum, to assist the authority in meeting its expenditure on adult social care from the financial year 2016/17. It was originally made in respect of the financial years up to and including 2019/20. If the Secretary of State chooses to renew this offer in respect of a particular financial year, this is subject to the approval of the House of Commons.

On 6 February 2023, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up and Communities announced, as part of the final local government settlement for 2023/24, and subject to approval by the House of Commons that councils would be able to levy up to 2.0% for the Adult Social Care precept in 2023/24

How is the adult social care precept calculated?

The adult social care precept is calculated on the whole of the West Sussex County Council element from the previous year. The calculation for a band D property is as follows:

Adult social care precept calculation

Adult social care precept calculation: Showing year, previous year's total charge, core increase, adult social care increase, percentage increase and total charge.
Year Previous year's total charge Core increase Adult social care increase Percentage increase Total charge
2016/17 £1,161.99 £22.66 (1.95 per cent) £23.24 (2.00 per cent) 3.95 £1,207.89
2017/18 £1,207.89 £23.54 (1.95 per cent) £24.16 (2.00 per cent) 3.95 £1,255.59
2018/19 £1,255.59 £37.08 (2.95 per cent) £25.11 (2.00 per cent) 4.95 £1,317.78
2019/20 £1,317.78 £39.44 (2.99 per cent) £26.35 (2.00 per cent) 4.99 £1,383.57
2020/21 £1,383.57 £27.50 (1.99 per cent) £27.67 (2.00 per cent) 3.99 £1,438.74
2021/22 £1,438.74 £28.66 (1.99 per cent) £43.16 (3.00 per cent) 4.99 £1,510.56
2022/23 £1,510.56 £30.07 (1.99 per cent) £15.11 (1.00 per cent) 2.99 £1,555.74
2023/24 £1,555.74 £46.56 (2.99%) £31.11 (2.00%) 4.99% £1,633.41

For transparency, and as prescribed by government regulations, the adult social care precept is identified separately on the council tax demand; it is also shown on a cumulative basis. For example, for 2023/24 the total levy applied since 2016 for a band D property, as shown above, would be £215.91.

Why is my bill different to the amount shown on the council tax leaflet?

The charge shown on the leaflet above relates to the West Sussex County Council element of the council tax charge. In addition to this, there will be charges for your district or borough council, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner and, if applicable, your town and parish council.

A breakdown of the full charge will be available from your district or borough council - please see your council tax bill for their contact details. You can also find out the relevant council by entering your postcode on How to pay Council Tax.

How can I contact you if I have any questions?

Last updated:
7 March 2023
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