Issue - meetings

Budget Setting, Medium Term Financial Plan & Capital Strategy

Meeting: 22/02/2018 - Council (Item 32)

32 Budget Setting, Medium Term Financial Plan & Capital Strategy (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Finance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Gould asked the Chairman if she would allow Opposition Groups the opportunity to present their views on the budget first. 

 

Councillor Jermy reported that the Labour Group had discussed the budget papers prior to the meeting.  There were items in the budget that the Labour Group welcomed but there were some areas that he felt could be better addressed. He pointed out that on a number of occasions Councillors had remarked that they looked forward to and indeed expected budget proposals to be forthcoming from opposition Councillors. He felt it to be even more incumbent upon the official opposition to do so and to scrutinise proposals. Whilst the Labour Group was not the official opposition, it did want to offer suggestions on how it felt the budget could be improved so that the best outcomes could be secured for the District.

 

Councillor Jermy felt that securing well-paid jobs for Breckland residents needed to be one of the Council’s priorities. The District’s low wage economy locally and poor social mobility figures should be of particular concern.  In contrast, for many, Breckland was a great place to live, work and visit. Breckland’s environmental and heritage assets had much to offer and he felt the authority undersold itself.  The  economic benefits of tourism could be greater realised.

 

The proposed amendment from the Labour Group would see £5,000 allocated to support the provision of tourist information services in each market town in Breckland; a small and affordable sum but one that could reap significant benefits. Encouraging people to come here, or perhaps encouraging people already coming to spend more, stay longer and visit other parts of the District was of course being undertaken but often by volunteers, often with limited budgets – if visitors searched the tourist information for Dereham they were directed to a telephone number that was currently disconnected.

 

The second part of the Labour Group’s amendment concerned housing:

 

Councillor Jermy pointed out that housing was by far the most common type of casework that he dealt with as a Councillor – the lack of affordable housing, issues with repairs and maintenance, issues with private landlords, the impact of the bedroom tax and more. The Labour Group wanted to propose a link between right to buy receipts and investment in new affordable housing and if targeted correctly, this investment could help save the Council money

 

Finally, poor street lighting was a major concern in many areas. Poor quality, older street lights in Breckland were costly – failing repeatedly, inefficient use of electricity – the budget of proposed £90k was a welcome start but the Council should be moving much quicker to achieve the savings over a shorter period of time and providing a better quality service

 

He proposed the following amendments to the Council which were seconded by Councillor Clarke.

 

1.     Jobs

 

Allocate £5,000 for each market town in the District to support core-running costs associated with the provision of Tourist Information services to maximise the benefit to the local  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32


Meeting: 06/02/2018 - Cabinet (Item 24)

24 Budget Setting, Medium Term Financial Plan & Capital Strategy

Report of Executive Member for Finance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader said was pleased to see that Breckland would reduce the reliance of the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) to nil in 2018/19.  In addition the reliance on the New Homes Bonus with indicative values of £1.7m in 2018/19 and £1.4m in 2019/20 would be contributed into the Communities reserves and was publicly committed to spend within the community projects.

 

The Executive Member for Finance added that through the Growth and Investment fund, and the Communities fund, would allow greater opportunity to invest in the District.

 

The Executive Member for Place added that the report had reflected an exciting opportunity going forward.

 

The Leader also echoed this comment, and thanked the Executive Director of Commercialisation and the Chief Accountant for their work.

 

Options

Option 1 - Recommendations 1 to 6 above are approved.

 

Option 2 - That amendments are made before recommendations 1 to 6 above are approved.

 

Reasons

To comply with budgetary and policy framework.

 

RECOMMEND to Full Council that:

 

1)         The Breckland revenue estimates and parish special expenses for 2018-19 and outline position through to 2021-22 (as set out in Appendix B and E) are approved.

 

2)         The capital estimates and associated funding for 2018-19 and outline position through to 2021-22 (as set out in Appendix H) are approved.

 

3)         The fees and charges shown at Appendix D and D2, for adoption on 1 April 2018 are approved.

 

4)         The Council Tax is set at £83.88 for a Band D property in 2018-19 (a £4.95 per annum increase on 2017-18 levels).

 

5)         The financial Medium Term Plan at Appendix A is approved.

 

6)         The Capital Strategy at Appendix G is approved.