How we spend your money

Services the council provides

The council provides a large number of essential local services which are aligned to the priorities set in the Borough Plan, including:

A borough where we can all feel safe, secure, happy and healthy

  • 4,688 elderly and vulnerable adults receiving long-term social care support from the council
  • 29,656 active borrowers in Brent’s libraries
  • 1.77 million visits to Brent’s sports centres

Strong foundations

  • 4 Brent Community Hubs opened, supporting 6,538 residents

Every opportunity to succeed

  • 96% of Brent schools are rated Good or Outstanding
  • Helped 228 residents get into work
  • 44 apprenticeships secured through Brent Works

A future built for everyone, an economy fit for all

  • Working towards builidng 1,000 new council homes
  • 694 planning applications approved

A cleaner, more considerate Brent

  • Recyclables collected from 124,331 households
  • 32,148 illegally dumped waste incidents cleared
  • 26,085 road repairs fixed by injection patching programme


Paying for these services

Altogether the council plans over £1 billion gross spending in 2020/21 on services.

About £128 million of the money that we spend on services is raised through council tax collections.

The majority of the funding is raised through government grants.  For example, the council is estimated to receive £215 million in grant for schools and another £313 million subsidy to meet the cost of housing benefit for tenants.

The council also receives rents from council tenants and other income from charges made for services that people use. These include charges for sports facilities, parking and contributions towards care packages.

The annual charge for a band D property in 2020/21 is £1,644.81 (£1,312.74 of which funds Brent Council services and £332.07 goes towards Greater London Authority services).

Increase in Council Tax charges

There is a Council Tax increase of 3.99 per cent for 2020/21, which is made up of 1.99 per cent for general services provided by the council and 2 per cent ring-fenced for Adult Social Care, making a Band D council tax of £1,312.74.

The government has reduced the main council tax referendum threshold from 2.99 per cent in 2019/20 to 1.99 per cent in 2020/21.  Brent has set an increase of 1.99 per cent following statutory processes of consultation, scrutiny and equality analyses.

For councils like Brent with social care responsibilities, the government has made the following statement to explain the increase:

“Local Authorities will continue to be able to increase council tax in 2020/21 by a core principle of up to 2% without holding a local referendum.  Authorities with adult social care responsibilities will be able to increase their council tax by a further 2% on top of the core principle, without holding a local referendum, to be spent exclusively on adult social care.

The proposed referendum principles strike a balance between giving local authorities the flexibility to address service pressures, and not overburdening council tax payers with excessive increases which do not have local support.”

Additionally, the Council will levy a precept of £332.07, at Band D, on behalf of the Greater London Authority (GLA), which is a 3.6% rise compared to 2019/20 (comprising an additional £10 for the Metropolitan police and £1.56 for the London Fire Brigade).  Therefore, the total council tax at Band D is £1,644.81, an overall 3.9% increase on the 2019/20 level.

Spending details

Further information concerning the council's spending can be found in the Brent Council spending leaflet 2020/21. This provides information for council tax and business rate payers on:

  • our planned spending for the year ahead
  • the Greater London Authority's spending
  • council tax levels in Brent

The budget book provides details of our spending plans for each service for the upcoming year.

Our annual accounts provide detailed information on spending over the past year. Please see the related links above for more information.

Councillors regularly receive information on the council's spending plans and patterns.

This information allows them to make critical decisions on how money is to be spent in the future and also enables them to ensure that all money is used effectively.

These include:

  • the annual budget report which is considered by the whole council in March of each year. This report aids councillors in deciding how to allocate the resources available to the council, and also in agreeing the level of council tax to be set. The report also sets out the council's strategy for managing the council's finances over the medium to long term.
  • regular budget monitoring reports that provide councillors with information on spending, activity, and performance. Reports go to the the Cabinet during the year.
  • the medium term financial strategy which sets out the financial prospects of the council over the next three years and highlights the measures that the council will need to take to ensure that spending can be contained within resources.