Council tax in South Cambridgeshire is set to increase by 3 per cent in the financial year 2024/2025. 

Plans for the year ahead will see the council remain as one of the lowest taxing authorities in the country, despite a background of rising population, increasing costs due to inflation and a national homelessness crisis.

In a meeting of Full Council today (Tuesday, February 27) members voted to back the Budgets and Business Plan for the upcoming 12 months.

The plans will see a £5 per year increase for the average band D home, equivalent to a below inflation rise of around 3 per cent.

In addition, a budget of £519,000 has been agreed as part of the council’s continued Digital Transformation work – which aims to make services even more accessible to residents in a way that works for them.

This will fund the software and staffing costs needed to make it easier for customers to get the help they need.

This includes the first public-facing use by the council of AI in providing direct support to residents.

Leader of the council, Cllr Bridget Smith, said: “SCDC is recognised nationally as being unafraid to be innovative and ground-breaking when it comes to finding ways to deliver the best services to residents in the most cost-effective way possible.

"I am incredibly proud of what we are delivering for residents – be it the wonderful new sports facilities at Northstowe, more new, modern and energy efficient council homes or our innovative support during the cost-of-living crisis.

"Once again, we have exciting ambitions for the year ahead. At the forefront of our plans is making it even more convenient and efficient for residents to interact with us and in turn for us to do our very best to support them.

"We’re also of course looking at ways to further support local business - small and large.”

The council only retains around 7.6 per cent of the council tax it collects, with the rest being passed on to other organisations who provide key services to the public.

With price inflation remaining at around double the Bank of England target of 2 per cent, a £5 per year increase, or 3.1 per cent, in council tax for the average band D home, was agreed to ensure essential frontline services continue to be delivered effectively.

The rise sees the average band D home charge for South Cambridgeshire District Council become £170.31 per year. This is an increase of around 10p per week. This rise continues to maintain the Council’s position in the lowest 25% of taxing District Councils in the country.

To maintain the council’s housing stock to a high standard, and to build more council houses, council rents are being raised by 7.7 per cent.