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Local government finance statistics cover a variety of areas including council tax, local government borrowing, capital finance and receipt information. Monitoring local government finance is vital to ensure local government has sufficient funds to deliver local services throughout the year.

Publications

Capital Forecast Live table
Department: Communities and Local Government
Capital expenditure and receipts forecast by local authorities
Capital Forecast Return
Department: Communities and Local Government
Local government capital expenditure and receipts forecast
Capital Payments and Receipts Live table
Department: Communities and Local Government
Quarterly capital expenditure and receipts (CPR1-4) England
Collection Rates and Receipts of Council tax and Non Domestic rates, England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Press release relating to council tax and non-domestic rates collection rates by local billing authority. This publication was previously called 'Collection Rates of Council tax and Non Domestic rates, England'.
Collection Rates for Council Tax and Non Domestic Rates, England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Press release relating to council tax and non-domestic rates collection rates by local billing authority.
Council Tax Collection Rates, Wales
Department: Welsh Government
Shows statistics on Council tax collection rates by Welsh unitary authorities including data on amounts collected, written off and outstanding.
Council Tax Dwellings in Wales
Department: Welsh Government
Shows the number of houses liable for council tax in Wales.
Council Tax Levels in Wales
Department: Welsh Government
Shows Council Tax Levels for Wales.
Council Tax Levels set by Local Authorities in England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Details of council tax levels set by local authorities.
Council Tax Reduction Statistics - Scotland
Department: Scottish Government
Holding text - awaiting details on this collection
Council tax Collected by Local Authorities in England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Details of council tax collected by local authorities.
Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland
Department: Scottish Government
This report captures the entire public sector in Scotland and includes activity by each of the constituent sub-sectors of the public sector: central government, local government and public corporations.
Local Authority Budgeted Revenue Expenditure, Wales
Department: Welsh Government
Presents data on budgeted revenue expenditure and financing by Welsh authorities include data for police, fire and national park authorities.
Local Authority Capital Expenditure and Receipts, England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Provides estimates of capital expenditure and receipts.
Local Authority Capital Expenditure, Wales
Department: Welsh Government
Presents data on local authority capital expenditure.
Local Authority Capital Forecast, Wales
Department: Welsh Government
Presents data on Capital forecast expenditure and financing by Welsh authorities include data for police, fire and national park authorities.
Local Authority Council Taxbase, England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Estimate of the number of properties liable for council tax.
Local Authority Icelandic Bank Investments
Department: Communities and Local Government
This release relates to the local authority Icelandic bank investments based on a survey of 482 authorities in England as at 31 December 2008.
Local Authority Revenue Expenditure and Financing - England
Department: Communities and Local Government
This release provides budget estimates of local authority revenue expenditure and financing for the financial year.
Local Authority Revenue Expenditure and Financing, England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Provides estimates of revenue expenditure and financing for Local Authorities.
Local Authority Revenue Outturn Expenditure, Wales
Department: Welsh Government
Presents data on local authority revenue expenditure.
Local Government Financial Statistics, England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Local Authority financial statistics
Local Government Firefighter Pension Fund
Department: Communities and Local Government
Information on Firefighters' pension fund
Local Government Key Facts Card, England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Local Government Key Facts Card: England.
Local Government Pension Scheme Funds Wales
Department: Communities and Local Government
Data for the 8 administering pension authorities in Wales.
Local Government Pension Scheme Funds, England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Local Government pension scheme fund data.
Local authorities Borrowing and Investments
Department: Communities and Local Government
Breakdown of Borrowing and Investments by type and Local Authority.
National Non-Domestic Rates Collected by Local Authorities
Department: Communities and Local Government
Details of national non-domestic rates collected by local authorities.
National Non-Domestics Rates to be collected by Local Authorities
Department: Communities and Local Government
Details of national non-domestic rates to be collect by local authorities
Non-Domestic Rates Revaluation Appeals
Department: Scottish Government
Non-domestic rates - quarterly publication on progress and results of appeals against 2010 revaluation of non-domestic properties.
Parishes and Charter Trustees in England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Provides information on local precepting authorities in England
Provisional Outturn and Budget Estimates
Department: Scottish Government
Local Authorities budgets and provisional outturn
Quarterly Capital Payments to December 2008
Department: Communities and Local Government
Local government capital expenditure and receipts
Quarterly Revenue Outturn for Local Authorities in England
Department: Communities and Local Government
Quarterly revenue outturn
Receipts of Council Taxes
Department: Communities and Local Government
Receipts of council taxes collected during the financial year irrespective of the financial year to which the receipts relate.
Welsh Local Government Financial Statistics
Department: Welsh Government
Contains information on local authority finance in Wales.

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Overview

In order to ensure the smooth running of facilities, local authorities must ensure they have sufficient funds to carry out their role. These funds come from a number of different sources.

The main sources of income in local government in England are listed below:

  • council tax

  • redistributed non-domestic rates

  • other government grants

  • borrowing and investments

  • interest receipts

  • capital receipts


Other sources include:

  • sales, fees and charges

  • council rents


Most local government finance data are supplied by local authorities in England. The data are used in the monitoring of public expenditure and the compilation of the National Accounts. 

Local Government Finance data are also used by the government to inform the allocation of resources to local government and the development monitoring of local government finance policy.

Council tax is the main source of locally-raised income for many local authorities, which makes it an important source of funding. It meets the difference between the amount a local authority wishes to spend and the amount it receives from other sources, such as government grants.

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Technical Data

Capital Finance

The Prudential System took effect from 1 April 2004. It encourages investment in the capital assets that local government need to improve services. The system relies on modern accounting concepts, plus professional and self-regulation. It allows local authorities to raise finance for capital expenditure, without government consent, where they can afford to service the debt without extra government support.

Council Tax

Gearing is the effect on council tax of increasing budgeted revenue expenditure. One way to calculate a gearing ratio is to compare revenue expenditure with council tax requirements. The amount of council tax payable on a property depends in part on the valuation band to which it is allocated. These bands are shown below under Council Taxbase. Many aspects need to be taken into account when authorities calculate their taxbase.

Council Taxbase

The taxbase figure is used to estimate the number of properties liable for council tax in England. The information is derived from the Council Tax Base (CTB) forms submitted by all 354 English authorities.
 
The taxbase is based on the number of Band D equivalent properties in a local authority’s area. The eight bandings for the valuation list are as follows:

1. Band A £40,000 and under

2. Band B £40,001 to £52,000

3. Band C £52,001 to £68,000

4. Band D £68,001 to £88,000

5. Band E £88,001 to £120,000

6. Band F £120,001 to £160,000

7. Band G £160,001 to £320,000

8. Band H over £320,000

When billing authorities calculate their taxbase they need to take into account any exemptions within their area. Examples of this are properties that are only occupied by one adult or remain empty for some of the year. An authority’s taxbase is taken into account when it calculates its council tax, and when central government calculates allocations of formula grant.

Revenue Grants

The main non-housing grants are referred to as Aggregate External Finance (AEF). They include Revenue Support Grant (RSG), redistributed non-domestic rates and certain specific grants. Specific grants are distributed by individual government departments.

The formula grant (RSG, redistributed non-domestic rates and Police Grant) is not provided for a specific purpose and so can be spent on any service. Formula Grant is allocated to authorities using the new Formula Spending Shares (FSS) system.

The system is built on a basic ‘per client’ amount for each service area with top ups for issues such as deprivation or local area costs. Formula Grant also takes into account each authority’s expected ability to collect council tax.

Non-Domestic Rates

Most non-domestic properties in England are liable to nationally-set non-domestic rates (NNDR), which are known as business rates. Once they have been collected, the income from non-domestic rates is paid into a central pool. This is then redistributed to local authorities on the same basis as Revenue Support Grant, with the payments being regarded as a type of government grant.

Each hereditament has a rateable value. It is broadly based on the annual rent that the property could have been let for on the open market at a particular date.

Each year the Government estimates how much will be redistributed from the pool in the forthcoming year. This is based on the amount likely to be paid into the pool and the difference, in previous years, between the amount paid into the pool and the amounts to be redistributed from the pool.

Borrowing

New borrowing is a major way of financing capital spending. Funds may be received as income or capital receipts. If they are not going to be spent immediately, they may be invested or used to redeem debt.

The Net Cash Requirement, which was previously known as local authority borrowing requirement, is the external borrowing by local authorities less changes in the level of their investments.

When the Net Cash Requirement is positive, local authorities are increasing their borrowing and/or reducing their investments. When it is negative, local authorities are reducing their borrowing and/or increasing their investments.

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Glossary

  • Aggregate external finance (AEF) – central government revenue funding

    Net AEF comprises Revenue Support Grant, and Nationally-set Non-Domestic Rates. Gross AEF includes specific grants as well.

  • Best Value Accounting Code of Practice (BVACOP)

    Best Value Accounting Code of Practice (BVACOP) is prepared and published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). Its aim is to modernise the system of local authority accounts and reporting. It also provides standard service and subjective analyses of local government expenditure and income, and standard costing definitions.

  • Billing authority

    A billing authority is part of a local authority which is permitted to set and collect council tax, and manage the Collection Fund, on behalf of itself and local authorities in its area. In England, shire and metropolitan districts, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, unitary authorities, London Boroughs and the City of London are billing authorities.

  • Budget requirement

    Budget requirement is an amount calculated in advance of each year, by each billing authority and local and major precepting authority. It is broadly the authority’s estimated net revenue expenditure allowing for movement in reserves. It is, therefore, the estimate of the amount to be met from Formula Grant, Greater London Authority general grant and from council tax income.

  • Capital assets

    Assets purchased as a long-term investment for generating profit, such as buildings or council houses.

  • Capital expenditure

    Expenditure on the acquisition of fixed assets or expenditure, which adds to and does not merely maintain the value of existing fixed assets. This standard accounting definition is modified in local government by regulations and directions made under Local Government Act 2003.

  • Capital receipts

    Income from the sale of capital assets. Such income may only be used for purposes authorised by regulations under Local Government Act 2003, for example to repay loan debt and to finance new capital expenditure.

  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)

    The leading professional accountancy body for public services, whether in the public or private sectors.

  • Council tax

    A local charge, or charges, set by the billing authority in order to collect sufficient revenue to meet their demand on the collection fund and the precepts issued by the precepting authorities. It replaced community charge on 1 April 1993 and is based on the value of the property and the number of residents. The Valuation Office Agency assesses the properties in each district area and assigns each property to one of eight valuation bands; A to H. The tax is set on the basis of the number of band D equivalent properties.

  • Depreciation

    The accounting recognition of the loss in value of a tangible fixed asset because of its use or its holding/ownership by the company.

  • Fixed assets

    Assets that yield benefits to the local authority and the services it provides for a period of more than one year.

  • Formula Grant

    The main channel of government funding. There are no restrictions on what local government can spend it on.

  • Gearing

    A measure of the impact on council taxes of increasing budgets. This varies widely between local authorities. An authority that meets 25 per cent of its budget through council tax is said to have a gearing of 4.0. Therefore, a 1 per cent increase in budget would lead to a 4 per cent increase in council tax.

  • Hereditament

    Property which is, or may become, liable to National Non-Domestic Rates. If so, it will appear on the rating list, compiled and maintained by the Valuation Office Agency of HM Revenue & Customs.

  • Local Precepting Authority

    Parish councils, chairmen of parish meetings, charter trustees and the treasurers of the Inner and Middle Temples. These local authorities instruct the billing authority on how much money (council tax) to collect on their behalf.

  • Major Precepting Authority

    County councils, metropolitan county police, fire and civil defence authorities, the London Fire and Civil Defence authority and the Receiver for the Metropolitan Police district. These authorities instruct the billing authority on how much money (council tax) to collect on their behalf.

  • National Accounts

    Record and describe economic activity in the UK.

  • National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR)

    A means by which local business contributes to the cost of local authority services. They are also known as business rates.

  • National Non-Domestic Rates Multiplier

    The factor by which a hereditament’s rateable value is multiplied in order to calculate the gross rates due on it before deductions.

  • Precept

    The amount of money (council tax) that a local or major precepting authority has instructed the billing authority to collect and pay over to it in order to finance its net expenditure.  

  • Provisions

    Sums are set aside to meet any liabilities or losses in respect of a past event which are likely or certain to be incurred, but uncertain as to the amounts or dates on which they will arise.

  • Prudential Capital Finance System

    This is the informal name for the system introduced on 1 April 2004 by Part 1 of the Local Government Act 2003. It allows local authorities to borrow without government consent, provided that they can afford to service the debt from their own resources.

  • Redistributed non-domestic rates

    Non-domestic rates which, having been paid into a central poll, are redistributed between local authorities on the basis of population, as part of Formula Grant.

  • Reserves

    Sums held to finance future spending for purposes falling outside the definition of a provision. Reserves held for stated purposes are known as earmarked reserves. The remainder is unallocated reserves.

  • Revenue expenditure

    Expenditure on recurring items including the running of services and capital financing. A particular definition of revenue expenditure is that derived from gross revenue expenditure by deducting spending met by grants outside Aggregate External Finance. These include rent allowance grant, mandatory student awards grant and council tax benefit grant.

  • Revenue support grant

    A general grant which replaced rate support grant in 1990/91. Now it is distributed as part of Formula Grant.

  • Ring-fenced grants

    These grants fund particular services or initiatives considered a national priority, and must be spent on a particular service.

  • Sales, fees and charges

    Charges made to the public for a variety of services. For example, the provision of school meals, meals-on-wheels, letting of school halls and the hire of sporting facilities, library fines and planning application fees.

  • Tangible fixed asset

    This is defined as a physical fixed asset and includes land, buildings, plant and machinery. These are held for use by the authority for a period over more than one year.

  • Taxbase

    The number of Band D equivalent properties in a local authority’s area. An authority’s taxbase is taken into account when it calculates its council tax, and when central government calculates allocations of formula grant.

  • The Prudential Code

    A professional code of practice prepared by Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, for the Prudential system introduced on 1 April 2004. Local authorities are required by legislation to have regard to the Code.

  • Total managed expenditure

    This includes current and capital expenditure as well as depreciation but excludes financial account transactions.

  • Unallocated reserves

    Reserves held by an authority which may be used for any purpose.

  • Usable capital receipts

    Until 31 March 2004, this represented the amount of capital receipts available to finance capital expenditure in the future years, after setting aside amounts laid down by statute for the repayment of debt.

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Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

Joy Amadi

Email: joy.amadi@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 30 3444 4320

Communities and Local Government 5/J5 Eland House Bressenden Place London SW1E 5DU

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