Agenda item

Draft Budget, Medium Term Plan and Capital Strategy 2019-20

Report of Executive Member for Finance and Delivery, Councillor Philip Cowen.


The Executive Member for Finance had given his apologies, however asked the Chairman of the Commission to present his points that were covered by the Chief Accountant’s presentation.  Members were asked to note that this was the final year of the Government’s four year settlement that would therefore lead to unprecedented levels of change planned for 2020-21 going forward.


The Chief Accountant gave Members a detailed presentation of the draft budget to cover the salient points.  The public budget consultation process had begun and would end on the 1 January 2019.  The information for the provisional settlement had been announced that morning, and highlights for Breckland included:

·        no change to the New Homes Bonus which meant that there would be an additional £70,000 into the Communities reserves for Breckland than previously outlined;

·        Norfolk had been successful in its bid for the National Non-Domestic Rates pilot for 2019-2020, which would need to be built into the budgets;

·        The referendum limits were unchanged for District Authorities.


The Budget had been based on a number of key assumptions including no reliance on the New Homes Bonus and the Revenue Support Grant.  The budget assumed the Council Tax would rise the full amount of £4.95 per year.  In 2020/21 there would be a fair funding review and the business rates changes which was unclear of the detail at this time.


The Chief Accountant gave detail on how Breckland had achieved good progress against its original target of saving £1.8m during 2018/19 through the Transformation Programme.  It had already achieved £1.7m and through a review of projects the new projected saving would be £1.9m.  A Member asked for details on the largest savings to date that had been delivered through the transformation programme.  These would be circulated to Members after the meeting.


The income sources showed the largest income received was through the retained business rates (at £7.5m), the second largest was seen through statutory fees and charges (at £4.6m), and the third largest was the Council Tax raised (at £3.8m).


Breckland had previously committed to invest £8.9m into the Growth & Investment reserve; and £1.5m into the Communities reserve for 2019-20.  The Council currently had £0.6m available from renewable energy but were not relying on the value yet as further information would not be available until 2020 when Members would be asked to make further decisions.


In summary, Breckland had a balanced revenue budget through the medium term, and were in good financial position to react to any changes as a result of the Fair Funding review in 2020-21.


Councillor Dimoglou queried why the Growth & Investment fund had not increased, as he thought the Growth fund was set up to facilitate growth in the District.  It was explained that the Growth & Investment fund had originally been funded by the Revenue Support Grant, but the Council would no longer receive this in future years.





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