Council Tax Explained

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We’re all facing a cost of living crisis with prices rising and income failing to catch up. It’s hard to balance the books – and we understand that rising council tax bills are the last thing anyone wants.

We wanted to set out, in a limited way, the financial pressures the council also faces, and has faced for many years. Not to generate any sympathy or come across as “poor us” – just as a way of explanation how we, like you, have to makes ends meet, with less coming in and costs rising.

We have managed to keep delivering good quality, essential services that our residents depend upon and balanced the books despite the financial challenges, through good housekeeping and careful monitoring of our spending.

Unfortunately, some cuts have had to be made or some services that were free to all now have to be paid for by those that use them. In other cases we’ve made savings and improved efficiency by creating partnerships with other organisations to deliver services  – Liberata (revenues and benefits, property management, environmental health, licensing) and Urbaser (waste collection and street cleansing). Our leisure and culture services were taken over by Burnley Leisure, a charitable trust.

The council has changed a lot over the last decade and now has just over 200 staff, a third of the workforce it had in 2013. 

Council Tax

No-one wants to see council tax bills go up and they are one of the major monthly bills residents have to meet.

Your council tax helps pay for the services we provide.

In 2024/25 we decided to increase Burnley Council’s share of your overall tax bill by 2.99%, or 13p a week for the large majority of our residents. If we had not agreed to this increase we would have had to find an extra £233,000 from our reserves for this year and all future years. That is a shortfall of well over £1 million over the next five years alone.

It’s worth pointing out though that Burnley Council only receives only 14.6p out of every £1 in council tax you pay. Most goes to Lancashire County Council to pay for things such as schools, social services and roads, and Lancashire Police Authority and Lancashire Combined Fire Authority.

  • Burnley Council 14.4% Band A £225.21 Band B £262.75 Band C £300.28 Band D £337.82 Band E £412.89 Band F £487.96 Band G £563.03 Band H £675.64
  • Lancashire County Council 70.7% Band A £1,102.19 Band B £1,285.89 Band C £1,469.59 Band D £1,653.29 Band E £2,020.69 Band F £2,388.09 Band G £2,755.48 Band H £3,306.58
  • Fire 3.6% Band A £56.49 Band B £65.90 Band C £75.32 Band D £84.73 Band E £103.56 Band F £122.39 Band G £141.22 Band H £169.46
  • Police 11.3% Band A £175.60 Band B £204.87 Band C £234.13 Band D £263.40 Band E £321.93 Band F £380.47 Band G £439.00 Band H £526.80
Choose your band:

Unlike most other areas of the country, three-quarters of the houses in our borough are in the two lowest council tax bands which means the income we receive is lower than most other councils.

Council Tax Eligible Dwelling 24/25

Band ABand BBand CBand DBand EBand FBand GBand HTotal

Single Adult Dwelling 23/24

Band ABand BBand CBand DBand EBand FBand GBand HTotal

Burnley Council precept increase

Graphics showing equals sign and 15p in a circle

= 15p per week per household on average.

Supporting the most vulnerable

We decided to help the most vulnerable families struggling to make ends meet by increasing the council tax subsidy from 85% to 100% meaning eligible people will not have to pay council tax, for one year only. The cost will be met from council reserves.

Government support

For the past 10 years and more the amount of money we get from the Government, which forms the largest part of our income, has fallen considerably. In those years we did see an increase in funding it was generally way below the national average.

Over the next four years we expect a cumulative shortfall of £2.1 million in funding which will have to be met in other ways.

The challenge we face is significant and to balance our budgets over the coming years will mean prioritising our services to meet the needs of local people and changes and improvements to the way we deliver those services. The council continues to make and face key decisions affecting the way it delivers core services.

  • Business Rates:£7,875,381
  • Others: £3,056,557
  • Council Tax: £8,054,980
  • Business Rates:£5,950,000
  • Others: £2,594,000
  • Council Tax: £7,723,000
  • Business Rates:£5,732,000
  • Others: £2,109,000
  • Council Tax: £7,480,000
  • Business Rates:£5,732,000
  • Others: £2,421,000
  • Council Tax: £7,266,000
  • Business Rates:£5,732,000
  • Others: £2,801,000
  • Council Tax: £7,160,000
  • Business Rates:£8,277,000
  • Others: £576,000
  • Council Tax: £6,962,000

Data shown is taxbase values, these figure are predictive using previous year’s data, expected exemption, non-collection percentages and expected business rates, plus advice from central government regarding grant allocations.

Others includes grants, a percentage of business rate growth, and use of reserve funds (used to close the budget gap when necessary).

Note: 2019/20’s business rates includes predicted growth and as such appears much larger than subsequent years. This is not included in business rates values, 2020/21 – 2023/24, due to changes in government procedure, instead a percentage of business rate growth predictions is included in Others.


No council takes the decision to increase council tax lightly but not doing so would mean savings would have to be found elsewhere, for example less street cleaning or not maintaining our parks to the same standard. Pressure to reduce services or stop them all together would follow. 

We listen to residents and prioritise our services accordingly, improving housing, making our borough cleaner and safer, creating jobs.

  • Environmental & Regulatory Services £4.39m
  • Corporate and Democratic Core £2.71m
  • Cultural and related services£6.13m
  • Central services to the public £0.67m
  • Housing Services £1.50m
  • Other £3.40m

*This chart show expenditure and as such paid for services are not shown. See the full data.

Cost of living – as of April 2023

The phrase ‘cost of living crisis’ does not tell the whole story; the increased prices of good and services affects business and organisations, such as Burnley Council, as well as households. Despite the rising costs, we have worked hard to balance the books and maintain a similar overall budget. To allow us to keep delivering the services our residents have come to expect and rely on, we have had to make savings but this has not been enough and, as shown above, the gap left by a reduction in government support has had to be plugged with increased income (Council Tax).

The tables below show how Burnley Council’s budget, and share of overall council tax, compares with other day-to-day living costs.

Percentage increase

Burnley Council Budget0-0.77-2.5-3.1202.86
Burnley Council council tax income002.8404.3607.4410.92
All council tax004.5808.1613.3518.37
CPI index001.7102.1308.4419.74
Burnley House Prices004.6725.8229.2839.67
UK House Prices00.6909.3821.3028.16
Rent Burnley0481219
Pay UK0-207.8813.3218.20
Burnley Population00.8201.6302.4503.26

Increase shown as figures*

Name20192020202120222023% change ’19-23
Burnley Council Budget (£,000)15,81515,69315,41915,32116,2672.86
Burnley Council council tax income(£,000)6,9627,1597,2667,4807,72210.92
All council tax (£,000)44,62746,67248,26750,58452,82818.37
CPI index106.813108.639109.089115.827127.919.74
Burnley House Prices (£)83,94487,867105,618108,519117,24139.67
UK House Prices (£)228,749230,318250,210277,474293,16228.16
Rent Burnley (£ average)40047519
Pay UK (£ weekly average)53352757560463018.2
Petrol (£)125.78115.53133.36165.03148.9418.4
Burnley Population93,18094,70096,2203.26

What’s next?

None of us know what will happen over the coming years.

We will continue to press the Government for more funding for our borough. 

Our long-standing policy of careful management of our budgets will also continue, and we will keep on looking at areas where we can bring in revenue and save costs, without impacting on the essential services we provide to our residents across the borough.

We will continue to fight for your borough and work to develop it as a dynamic place where people want to live, work and play.

Figures based on available data April 2023.


*Cost of living sources

  • Burnley Council Budget
  • CPI index
  • Housing information: UK House Price Index from the HM Land Registry, Registers of Scotland, Land and Property Services Northern Ireland, Office for National Statistics
  • Rent Burnley: Pettys Lettings April 2023
  • Pay (UK): Office for National Statistics – Monthly Wages and Salaries Survey
  • Petrol: RAC fuel watch
  • Population: 2011 UK Census and 2021 UK Census – other figures extrapolated using increase difference between 2011 and 2021