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 2021/22 and refer to the 'change in spending' pages that follow each portfolio summary (appendix 6, page 17 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 link to more information via How to pay Council Tax.

Frequently asked questions

Will we get a refund because of coronavirus?

Most of the money we spend, which is supported by the council tax you pay, is spent on the most vulnerable people in our community - 34 per cent on vulnerable adults and 21 per cent on vulnerable children.

We are providing additional help for people who are self-isolating and do not have a support network around them. We are also working hard to continue to provide vital services such as fire and rescue, waste disposal and essential road maintenance.

We know the changes to some of our services during the course of the pandemic have been frustrating, but we are doing the very best we can to follow government guidance to keep all of our residents safe and limit the spread of this virus.

We’re really sorry, but we cannot refund people for their council tax. Changes introduced during the pandemic are mostly temporary and are in place to help manage the national crisis.

What extra support is available to people struggling to pay their council tax as a result of the Coronavirus situation?

The Government is providing funding so that working age people who receive Local Council Tax Support can receive additional help.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus situation, 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.

Why is an increase in council tax necessary?

During the past year, the County Council has faced unprecedented challenges due to the global pandemic. At the same time, there has been uncertainty around future funding from central government and pressure on council resources has increased due to growing demand, especially for key services such as adults and children’s social care.

As we continue to provide support during the pandemic, we have looked carefully at our spending to see how we can modernise while supporting the most vulnerable in our society. To support this the County Council has agreed a new four-year framework Our Council Plan. The plan provides a clear direction for our resources and sets out our priority outcomes.

To deliver these priorities, and to meet the rising demand for statutory services, the County Council has approved a council tax increase of 1.99 per cent for a general increase and 3.00 per cent for Adult Social Care, giving a total increase of 4.99 per cent for 2021/22. This decision was not taken lightly given the financial hardship faced by residents due to economic impact of the pandemic, but with continuing low levels of government funding, an increase of this scale has been unavoidable.

Why is the increase 4.99 per cent?

For 2021/22, the Government has set a reasonableness threshold so local authorities can raise core council tax by up to 2.0 per cent, without holding a local referendum. Additionally, councils with social care responsibilities can increase their council tax by a further 3.0 per cent for adult social care.

The increase of 4.99 per cent reflects these principles with a rise of 1.99 per cent approved for the general increase plus an additional levy of 3.00 per cent for the 'adult social care precept', which the Government introduced in 2016. This part of the increase will support the delivery of existing adult services alongside implementing planned service improvements and developments.

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
      £169.69    

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 2021/22 the total levy applied since 2016 for a band D property, as shown above, would be £169.69.

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:
24 August 2021
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