About council tax and how it is spent

Find out more about our latest budget, council tax bands and precepts.

Difference in council tax depending on areas

The law requires that councils charge the same council tax (per council tax band) across the whole of the area. However, councils like ours that have been through local government reorganisation are give a special flexibility to equalise council take over a longer period. Ours is happening over two years.

This meant that in 2023/24 council taxpayers paid different amounts depending on what former council area the property was in. For 2024/25 there will be a single universal council tax (per band) so irrespective of which former district council area you live in you will pay the same basic council tax amount.  

This means that the increase compared to last year’s amount will vary by former council area. So those paying less than the average in 2023/24 will see a larger increase than those taxpayers who were paying more.

Councillors agreed an average 4.99% council tax increase for 2024/25, 2.99% for core council tax and 2% for the adult social care precept which helps to fund the pressures on social care, which means:

  • the 2023/24 average Band D council tax (excluding special expenses) was £1,759.58
  • the 2024/25 average Band D council tax (excluding special expenses) is £1,847.36    

Special expenses apply to some parishes in the Ryedale area only.

While the average increase is 4.99%, in individual areas the increases are as follow:

Former council area 2023/24 North Yorkshire Council Band D council tax 2024/25 North Yorkshire Council Band D council tax Increase
Craven £1,749.00 £1,847.36 5.62%
Hambleton £1,715.13 £1,847.36 7.71%
Harrogate £1,783.17 £1,847.36 3.60%
Richmondshire £1,767.89 £1,847.36 4.50%
Ryedale £1,756.81  £1,847.36 5.15%
Scarborough £1,777.23 £1,847.36 3.95%
Selby £1,747.00 £1,847.36 5.74%
Overall £1,759.58 £1,847.36 4.99%

From 2025/26 any agreed increase will apply equally to all areas.

Our budget

In February 2024, we agreed a budget for the financial year 2024/25 after we asked you to help us decide how to manage and prioritise our finances as part of our annual budget consultation. 

This continues to be an exceptionally challenging financial environment for local government and many of you will have seen the news reports of councils in severe financial distress. Inflation continues to have a major impact and is estimated, together with staff pay awards, to cost us over £39 million in 2024/25. To set this in context, a 1% increase in council tax raises just over £4.5 million. 

We are also seeing very high demand for services particularly in the areas of adult social care and children’s services. This has been made worse by the difficulties of staff recruitment and retention particularly in some of the more specialised areas.

We are very aware of the pressures on household budgets but despite using our reserves and identifying significant savings, in particular through the opportunities arising from local government reorganisation, we do need to increase council tax to meet these financial pressures. In February 2024, councillors voted for general council tax to increase by 2.99% along with an increase in the adult social care precept of 2%. The overall 4.99% increase will be equivalent to just over £7 a month on average for a Band D council tax property.

Where does the council's money come from and where will it be spent? 

We plan to spend £1,158 million on providing services to residents. The total gross expenditure for 2024/25 is allocated as follows:

Directorate gross expenditure 2024/ 25 Percentage of total
Health and adult services £394m 34%
Children and young people's services £149m 13%
Environment and regulatory services £262m 23%
Central services £83m 7%
Community development £218m 19%
Corporate and other services £50m 4%

This is funded from a number of sources, including central government, council tax, business rates and fees and charges on services we provide. The table below reflects the estimate of gross income to be received in 2024/25.

Funding 2024 / 25 Percentage of total
Fees / charges / client contributions £258m 22%
Government grants - centrally held £95m 8%
Government grants - service based £115m 10%
Joint arrangements £62m 5%
Investment / commercial and other income £61m 5%
Use of reserves -£22m -2%
Council tax income £455m 39%
Business Rates £135m 12%

Schools are funded by a dedicated schools grant from central government and £580m has been allocated in 2024/25. This amount includes both maintained schools and academies but excludes sixth form funding and pupil premium.

Capital spend
We plan to spend £274.8m on capital projects during 2024/25. Capital spending comes from a separate 'pot', which is financed from a combination of grants and contributions, borrowing, revenue budgets and capital receipts from the sales of properties.
Capital spending by function 2024 / 25
Highways and environment £140.3m
Housing £54.6m
Education £31.5m
Economic development and regeneration £29.3m
Public transport £7.8m
Property and fleet £7.6m
IT infrastructure £2.2m
Social care £0.5m
Culture, arts and leisure £0.5m
Other provisions £0.5m
Total £274.8m

Adult social care precept

The government allows local authorities to charge an additional precept on top of their core council tax charge to help pay for adult social care services.

What is the adult social care precept for and how much is it?

The adult social care precept is a special charge which the government allows to be added on top of basic council tax to help deal with the growing financial pressures on social care services for adults and older people. Any money raised through the precept must be earmarked for social care.

The government limits how much the precept can increase by and for 2024/25 this is set at 2%. This is 2% on the whole of the previous year's average council tax, including the previous adult social care precept, and not just a 2% increase on the previous year's adult social care precept.

How this is set out on council tax bills is specified by the government.

You cannot opt out of paying the adult social care charge, even if you currently do not receive adult social care. This is a charge set by the government.

Council tax, precepts and what you will be charged

Council tax will be collected by North Yorkshire Council, but the money raised is spent not only by the council but by various other bodies including parish and town councils, police and fire and rescue services.

You will usually receive your council tax bill in March of each year, if you are 18 or over, and own or rent a home.

For 2024/25 our overall average Band D charge has been set at £1,847.36 – that’s an increase of 4.99% on the charge for 2023/24. Of this increase, 2.99% relates to general council tax and 2% to the adult social care precept.  Full details of this and other council tax issues, including parish precepts, are detailed in the council tax leaflet (pdf / 2 MB).

Parish precepts by band

 Parish precepts by band for the Craven area 2024-25 (pdf / 68 KB)

 Parish precepts by band for the Hambleton area 2024-25 (pdf / 88 KB)

 Parish precepts by band for the Harrogate area 2024-25 (pdf / 78 KB)

 Parish precepts by band for the Richmondshire area 2024-25 (pdf / 74 KB)

 Parish precepts by band for the Ryedale area 2024-25 (pdf / 80 KB)

 Parish precepts by band for the Scarborough area 2024-25 (pdf / 62 KB)

 Parish precepts by band for the Selby area 2024-25 (pdf / 71 KB)

Police and fire precepts

Your council tax includes charges towards policing and fire services in our area. These charges are known as the 'Police Precept' and the 'Fire Precept', and are set by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for York and North Yorkshire.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for York and North Yorkshire website has more information:

Find out about the Police Precept and how your money will be spent 

Find out about the Fire Precept and how your money will be spent

Frequently asked questions

What are the rules on council tax limits?

The government sets out the rules on how much councils can increase council tax. For 2024/25 the government confirmed the limit for increases to core council tax at 2.99% and 2% for the adult social care precept.

If we want to increase it by any more than these levels set by the government, we must hold a local referendum.

Why do you have to have a balanced budget?

Local authorities are required by law to have a balanced budget. That is a financial plan based on sound assumptions which shows how income will equal spend over the short and medium-term. Plans would take into account deliverable cost savings and/or local income growth strategies as well as usable reserves.

Why can you not just use your reserves?

Reserves are like household savings. The money has been put away to pay for something in the future like a car or as a resource for emergencies such as when the boiler breaks down unexpectedly.

There are two types of council reserves:

  1. Earmarked reserves - these are already committed to be spent.
  2. General reserves - these are for responding to unexpected events such as major funding issues.

Like savings, reserves can only be spent once. If we are not careful in making the best use of our reserves we will be exposed to the risk that if some serious unexpected expenditure is necessary, the money just will not be there.

Why can you not use your capital budget to pay for front line services?

Our capital budget is spent on fixed assets. That includes new buildings and major refurbishments, buying land or buildings and investment in shares or bonds. The capital budget can be funded from the revenue budget, through borrowing within strict parameters set by the government or from capital receipts. We can only borrow to support the capital budget not to pay for everyday services. Capital receipts such as the sale of assets can only be used to either repay debt or to support the capital budget.

If, for example, we were to sell an office building we owned, the money received would be a capital receipt and could only be used to repay debt or for the capital budget. It could not be used for funding social care or home to school transport costs or other revenue funded services. Repayment of debt might sound like a good option, however much of our debt is at low fixed interest and we may have to pay significant penalties for paying off debt early.