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Frequently asked questions

What does "setting a budget" mean?

Each year DDC has to decide how much we can spend on services for our residents, businesses, and communities, and on new projects such as buildings or green spaces. Then we compare it to how much income we are likely to get from government and local taxation (council tax and business rates) and other sources of income. The annual financial plan we arrive at is called the Budget.

 We also have to look ahead and make sure the budget fits with the long-term plans for the district, as in the Corporate Plan and the Medium Term Financial Plan.


What is Dover District Council's current financial position?

Like other councils across the country, DDC has been hit by major rises in costs. At the same time Government funds paid to Local Authorities to deliver services have fallen significantly.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, inflation and the cost-of-living crisis have all added to the impact of years of austerity. The reserves – money the council has put aside to help with hard times - are being used now to top up gaps in funding.

Other public bodies, such as Kent County Council, are also announcing savings and economies to balance their budget. These will affect DDC’s budget, as demands on our services may rise to meet new needs.

 To balance our current year’s budget, we will need to take £1.1 million from our reserves. We expect a shortfall of £1.4 million for the following year, April 2024 to March 2025. This shortfall is likely to rise to £3.4 million by 2027/28 if nothing changes.

 We cannot take from reserves year after year – it is a short-term solution only. It is essential we plan now how to grow our income and reduce our expenditure so we will be in a stronger position for the future.


Doesn't the Government give Councils money?

Central government funding used to be the biggest source of money for many councils, including Dover District Council. However, we have seen a dramatic reduction in core funding from government over the last decade, replaced by fragmented short-term and one-off funding fixes. 

 A significant amount of our funding is through Council Tax (45%), but we also have other sources of income including:

  • Government Grants (9%) - Central government grants given to local authorities which can be used to finance revenue expenditure on any service. 
  • Business Rates (46%) – Our share of business (the rest goes to Government, Kent County Council and Kent Fire & Rescue Service)

Additionally, we charge fees for some of our services, which reduce the costs borne by the taxpayer, and we make money from parking charges. In total these fees and charges generate over £7m in our budget.



What happens to the Council tax we pay?

Only a small part of the Council Tax you pay goes to DDC – around 10p for every pound collected. The rest of your Council Tax money is paid to Kent County Council, The Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, The Kent and Medway Fire & Rescue Authority, and Town and Parish Councils.

 The average Council Tax for a Band D property in the district is £2,150.91. Dover District Council currently keeps only £208.17 (9.7%) of this. 

Who gets your Council Tax?



2023/24 Proportion


 Kent County Council



 Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent



 Kent and Medway Fire & Rescue Authority



 Town and Parish Councils (average)



Total Allocation to Other Bodies



 Dover District Council



Total Council tax for a Band D property




In this survey we are only asking for your views about the Dover District Council part of the Council Tax bill. 


How does DDC use our council tax?

We use our portion of your Council Tax to fund services for Dover District residents, including:

  • Waste and recycling
  • Street cleaning
  • Planning and building control
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Environmental health
  • Parks and leisure services
  • Community services

Some of our services are required by law (statutory). Government legislation says we must provide these to a certain standard. Sometimes the Government sets a minimum standard, and we can provide a higher level of service if budgets permit.   

Other services are discretionary - DDC can choose to provide them. We can increase, reduce, or withdraw these services if necessary. We can set charges for these services if wished, based on costs and current market prices.


Can't you just raise council tax to fund everything? 

Council Tax increases are limited by the government. DDC cannot increase tax by an amount or percentage higher than the government cap, without holding a local referendum to approve the change. This would be very costly. The Council Tax caps vary for each type of authority. Caps for 2023/24 are detailed below. We don’t yet know about caps for 2024-25.

Since we cannot raise Council Tax sufficiently to cover our costs, we will need to identify savings. 

 Council Tax Caps

2023/24 Band D Value (£)

2023/24 Council Tax Cap

Kent County Council



The Police & Crime Commissioner for Kent



Kent & Medway Fire & Rescue Authority



Town & Parish Council 


No Cap

Dover District Council



Total Band D Council Tax