Council tax is a tax that every household pays. Council tax helps pay for local public services including the Police, Fire service, services provided by Central Bedfordshire Council (such as bin collection, road maintenance, libraries and social care) and services provided by your local Town or Parish Council.
Every year council tax is recalculated and you receive a new bill in March.
You will pay council tax if you are living in the property as your main home, and you are at least 18 years old. If there is more than one person living in the property, the resident who comes first on the list below will be liable for council tax:
- the owner
- the leaseholder
- a statutory or secure tenant
- someone with a contractual license
- someone resident in the dwelling
If two or more people have the same interest in the property, then they are all responsible for the council tax charge. For example, if you occupy a property with a joint tenant, you will both be liable for the council tax. Couples who live in the same property are also treated as jointly liable.
In some circumstances, an owner must pay the council tax charge instead. This happens if:
- nobody is resident in the property or holds a tenancy for the property
- the property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) - this means that it is occupied by more than one household living separately
- the occupier is employed in domestic service to the owner
- a Minister of Religion lives and works in the property
- the property is a residential home
- the property is occupied by a Religious Community
We provide most of your public services and so approximately 80% of your council tax goes to help pay for services such as bin collection and recycling, road maintenance and social care for both adults and children.
In this financial year we will spend more than £189 million on council services for Central Bedfordshire. Below is a breakdown of an average household’s weekly bill for our services. Our biggest spend is on social care; approximately a third of our budget is spent on looking after vulnerable adults and older people.
|Average weekly bill for council services||£|
|Caring for vulnerable children, older people and those with disabilities||£13.99|
|Providing Libraries, parks, leisure centres and theatres||£0.15|
|Keeping our area clean and green||£2.34|
|Improving roads and pavements||£1.39|
|Keeping communities safe||£0.17|
|Building prosperity - through local homes and jobs||£1.95|
|Everything else - including running the council||£5.17|
|Total weekly bill per household||£25.16|
We have frozen our share of your council tax bill for the third year in a row.
Since our creation in 2009 we’ve worked hard to improve value for money for our customers. The creation of a single council (in place of the previous county and district councils) immediately cut the costs of staffing, accommodation and other running costs.
Since then, we have saved money every year, saving council tax payers more than £50m over the past four years.
Whilst we’ve already achieved significant savings, we know there is more to do.
Public spending cuts means the money that we get from government to help fund our services has dropped by a quarter since 2011. Losing this funding, which we rely on to pay for a big proportion of our services, has left a big gap in our finances.
The situation in Central Bedfordshire is particularly difficult as we get less government funding than many neighbouring councils. While the money we’re able to call on is going down, demands for our services, particularly social care for our aging population, are going up. We’ve developed our financial plan to deal with these pressures.
We’re aiming to reduce our spending without cutting front line services. We’ve taken a fresh look at the way the council works and have made some big changes. These include:
- reducing running costs – we’ve reduced the number of senior managers in the council by 50%
- thinking commercially - one of our leisure centres was due for closure but by investing in it and working with local people it is no longer a drain on resources but a valuable asset
- smart buying of goods and services - A new waste contract saved tax payers £1.4 million
- smarter ways of working – We will be changing the way we carry out road repairs. Whenever we’re called to fix one problem, like a pothole, we’ll see if other pressing repairs are needed at the same time. This will cut costs and will be less disruptive in the long run
- making use of new technology – we are investing in our website to enable more residents to self-serve at a time that suits them
- working together - sharing our customer service points with the Job Centre Plus shares costs and makes it easier for the people using the service
- adapting services - changing our care services so that elderly residents and people with disabilities can live independently at home, rather than in costly residential care
We will send you a new council tax bill in March. You could get a bill at other times in the year, if you move or if you have a change of circumstances which affects the amount you have to pay.
If you want to check the amount of council tax you pay, you'll need to know two things:
- The valuation band for your home - this is based on its value at 1 April 1991
- Which Town or Parish (PDF 1.5MB) you live in
Once you know this, you can check your annual council tax bill (PDF 65KB).
This shows the breakdown for:
- every Town and Parish in Central Bedfordshire
- council tax bands - shown from lowest to highest charge (A to H)
What does the council tax bill show?
Your annual council tax bill will usually be divided into ten monthly instalments from April to January of the following year. If we have to adjust your council tax partway through the year, we will divide your bill over the remaining instalments.
Your council tax bill will tell you:
- the names of the person or people who are liable for council tax
- the address of the property we are charging you for
- the valuation band of your property
- the annual charge for your property
- the period we are charging you for
- any benefit, discounts or payments which we have deducted from your bill
- the amount you have to pay
- how we expect you to pay your council tax instalments
Want to know more?
Our council tax charges and bands page gives more details on how your bill is worked out.