Your Council Tax explained - 2024/25

The money we get from Council Tax helps pay for many local services like children and adult social services, waste and recycling collections, road maintenance, street lighting, schools, libraries and much more.

To find out what your Council Tax charge is based on and the amount you pay, visit our Council Tax charges and bands page.

You can also read a plain English guide to Council Tax on the Government website.

Navigate to:


‘Where your money goes’ outlines important information about your Council Tax (and Business Rates) and how your money is used to deliver services in Swindon for the benefit of all residents.

We will spend more than £378 million on day-to-day services (excluding dedicated schools grant) and invest more than £120 million on capital projects and infrastructure schemes, like building new schools and maintaining our roads, in the coming year.

Balancing the budget has been a challenge due to the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, which means the council needs to pay more to deliver services, while demand for those services continues to grow.

The most vital frontline services that local people rely upon have been protected and we have set aside more money to help those who are also facing rising costs and to invest in priorities important to local communities.

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Council Tax and your bill

Council Tax helps pay for local services such as police and fire, schools, roads, street lights, libraries, waste and recycling collection.

The amount of Council Tax you pay is based on the valuation band of your property and any discounts or exemptions that you may be entitled to.

In 2023/24 we increased Council Tax by 4.99% and now in 2024/25 we need to increase our share by 4.99%, including a 2% increase for adult social care.

This is primarily due to the increasing demand for services, particularly for adult and children’s social care.

The Swindon Borough Council element of the Council Tax for a band D property for 2024/25 is £1,693.28, an increase of £80.48.

How your £1,693.28 is broken down to pay for the services we provide

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Children’s Services


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Adults, Housing & Public Health


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Waste and recycling*


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Highways and Transport


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Other services, support services and levies


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*Includes a small proportion of grounds maintenance.

Council Tax average Band D - with precepts added from the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority and all 20 parishes, the average 2024/25 total Council Tax for a band D property is £2,198.04

Council Tax average band D - with precepts added from the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority and all 20 parishes, the average 2024/25 total Council Tax for a band D property is £2,198.04.

Your Council Tax bill explained

Council Tax bill explained with annotations

Download Council Tax bill explained (PDF)

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Paying your Council Tax

There are several ways you can pay your Council Tax. You can find out more on our Pay your Council Tax page. Direct Debit is the recommended method as it saves you having to remember each month.

If you are struggling to pay, please note that help is available.

Council Tax reduction and Housing Benefit enquiries

Council Tax Support is a scheme to help those on a low income to get help to pay their Council Tax.

If you need help with Council Tax reduction or Housing Benefit, you can call 0345 302 2316.

Discounts and exemptions

In some circumstances you may be entitled to a discount or exemption. You can find out more on our Council Tax discounts or Council Tax exemptions pages.

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Viewing your details online and electronic billing

You will need your reference key and billing number from your latest bill to view your details online. These can be found on the front of your bill.

You will be able to view account details (including payments made), set up or amend Direct Debits, ask for an e-bill rather than a printed copy and update your contact details.

To set this up, visit the View your Council Tax account page.

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Reporting changes in your circumstances

Please note: It is your responsibility to tell us immediately about any changes that may affect the amount of Housing Benefit, Council Tax exemption, discount, or reduction you get.

You are committing an offence if you deliberately fail to tell us about a change in your circumstances.

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There are two areas for appeal, either against the valuation band or against a decision made by the council in any of the following circumstances:

  • you disagree that you are the person liable to pay Council Tax
  • you think your property should be exempt from Council Tax
  • you think you should be entitled to a reduction for people with disabilities
  • you think you should be entitled to a personal discount

Find out more about how to appeal on our Council Tax liability appeals page. You still need to pay your Council Tax whilst waiting for the appeal decision.

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Your Council Tax bill also collects precepts for adult social care, the police and fire services as well as on behalf of town and parish councils.

Adult social care precept

The adult social care precept allows councils who provide social care to adults to charge an additional amount for Council Tax.

The precept is not linked to whether or not taxpayers receive social care services. If you already pay for care services, the precept does not replace these charges.

It is a Government requirement that this charge is shown as a separate line on the bill.

Emergency services

In 2024/25 Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner charges have increased by 5.07% (or £13.00 on an average band D property).

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority charges have increased by 2.98% (or £2.52 on an average band D property).

You can read more about how this money is spent on the following websites:

Town and parish councils

There are now 20 town and parish councils in Swindon, with all areas now parished.

Town and parish councils set their budgets independently. The average increase for 2024/25 is 11.94% with the increases ranging from 0% to 25.3%.

Town and parish councils spending more than £100,000

A list of the individual parish precepts, giving context to how we have calculated Council Tax bills for this year, can be viewed below:

Business Rates (or non-domestic rates)

Business Rates (or non-domestic rates) are taxes paid on properties to help towards the cost of local council services.

Business Rates retention arrangements allow authorities to keep a proportion of the local Business Rates. This helps pay for the services provided by the local authority in your area.

For more information visit our Business Rates section.

There is also information about the Business Rates system on the Government website.

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The council’s budget

For 2024/25, the council is increasing its share of the general Council Tax by 2.99% and 2% for adult social care, in line with Government limits.

The council has a gross budget of £635.8 million which includes £257.6 million Dedicated Schools Grant which is passported directly to schools. After taking into account income from fees and charges for services, this leaves a net budget of £178.9 million which is funded from the following sources:

  • 3% from Government grants
  • 73% will come from council taxpayers (including the 2.99% Council Tax increase ring fenced for adult social care)
  • 24% from Business Rate payers

We will spend this funding on the following services:

  • 47% on supporting vulnerable adults
  • 39% on supporting vulnerable children and families
  • 10% on waste and recycling and some grounds maintenance
  • 2% on highways and transport
  • 2% on other services and support services

The 2024/25 budget also includes:

  • savings plans of £19.7 million
  • the one off use of £6.7 million reserves which reduced to £5.1 million after the final local government settlement was announced
  • borrowing charges of £17.5 million related to the delivery of capital projects

There are further planned savings of £4.2 million through 2025/26 and 2026/27.

For further information, read the following reports:

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Council Tax to be collected

The Council Tax report (PDF) sets out our charges for 2024/25, including those charges collected on behalf of police, fire and parishes.

  • Appendix 1 (PDF) of the report sets out the total charges for each area of the Borough.
  • Appendix 2 (PDF) sets out the parish charges for 2024/25 compared with 2023/24.

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The Environment Agency - flood defence levies

We pay a flood defence levy of £187,000 to three regional flood committees of the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency is a levying body for its Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Functions under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Environment Agency (Levies) (England and Wales) Regulations 2011.

Flood defence money is spent on the construction of new flood defence schemes, the maintenance of the river system and existing flood defences together with the operation of a flood warning system.

The majority of funding for flood defence comes directly from the Government, but where there are schemes which do not attract central funding, the agency raises income in the form of a local levy.

The local levy is shared on the basis of the equivalent number of band D dwellings between all contributing bodies within the committee area.

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Useful resources

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