Agenda item

Budget Update


The Chief Finance Officer presented the report which set out progress made in preparing the 2017/18 budget and updated Members on key financial information.


The Chief Finance Officer explained that the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement was announced on 15 December 2016 and had no material impact on the 10-year budget position, however it did change the New Homes Bonus assumptions.  He set out that previously this had been based on cumulative figures for six years but this was being reduced to five years from 2017/18 and four years from 2018/19.  He also explained that last year the Council had anticipated the 2018/19 change but not the 2017/18 change.  In future New Homes Bonus would only be received on tax base growth above 0.4% instead of on all growth.  It did not help fund the revenue budget but did support the Property Investment Strategy, therefore other sources could be required to fund part of the schemes planned in 2017/18 and 2018/19.  He indicated that as normal there would be a review of reserves as part of the budget process and that he would endeavour to reallocate funds to the Property Investment Strategy as part of this process.


It was further explained that the other items of note in the settlement were that the Business Rates Retention safety net level for the Council had increased very slightly and the Tariff Adjustment (negative Revenue Support Grant) which first appeared last year was still included in the calculations for 2019/20 but would be reconsidered as part of the Government’s review of Business Rates Retention which had not yet been completed.


The other amendments to the budget were updating the Property Investment Strategy income, changing the Council Tax Base to reflect the next report and the three new growth and savings proposals shown in Appendix E (on page 23 of the report).


The Chief Finance Officer took Members through the growth and savings proposals in Appendix E.  Members had asked officers to look at increasing Planning income and SCIA 4 related to pre-application charges.  £20,000 of additional income was agreed at the last Cabinet and SCIA 4 increased that by £5,000 to £25,000.  SCIA 27 increased the Planning application income budget by £5,000. 


He explained that SCIA 28 was about an increase in Business Rates expenditure for the Council’s properties.  Nationally all properties subject to Business Rates had been revalued and on 20 December 2016 further information had been issued enabling the Council to calculate the Business Rates payable by the Council next year.  The increase of £30,000 set out in the SCIA was due to car parking assessments going up nationally and this increase had partly been offset by a reduction in Business Rates for the Argyle Road building and Dunbrik depot.


The Chief Finance Officer set out that he was not expecting any further changes before the budget was finalised at Council in the next month and that the Council would once again have a balanced 10-year budget and be self-sufficient from direct government funding.


In respect of the updated SCIA 4 Members discussed the performance indicators set out in the report regarding the processing of planning applications.


Cabinet was due to make its final recommendation on the budget at its meeting on 9 February 2017, after taking into account any updated information available at that date.


Public Sector Equality Duty


Members noted that consideration had been given to impacts under the Public Sector Equality Duty.


Resolved:  That the growth and savings proposals set out in the report, be agreed.


Supporting documents:


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