Issue - meetings

Barnham Broom Golf & Country Club Investment Asset

Meeting: 14/01/2021 - Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Item 11)

11 Draft budget, medium term plan and capital strategy 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Report of Councillor Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance and Growth.

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The Executive Member for Finance and Growth, Councillor Cowen introduced the proposals for the draft budget in preparation for the budget setting for 2021.


Councillor Birt felt that there was not enough information on the carbon audit in respect of capital investment to meet the climate emergency obligations and had concerns that it would be underfunded.  However, he had been pleased to see that services were being maintained during these uncertain times.


In response, Councillor Cowen stated that the Council was committed to a programme for climate emergency. As far as being underfunded was concerned, a balanced budget was being delivered in unprecedented times and the Council was managing in a way, that not only maintained core services, but enhanced them; in addition to providing extra services for residents and businesses within Breckland.


The Chief Accountant added that when the outcome of the carbon audit and the programme of works became available, the request for funding would come forward along with the budget requirements to be approved as a whole.


Councillor Jermy was disappointed with the removal of the extra Council Tax support scheme that had helped residents in need who could not afford to meet the full annual amount. Over the past year, those eligible had been provided with 100% support but now it was being removed, the support level would return to 9.1.5%. He felt that with the money provided from Government, specifically for those unable to meet council tax payments, there may be an option for the Commission to recommend a hardship fund for those who were having difficulty paying their Council Tax and asked for this option to be explored.


The Chief Accountant stated that a Government grant of just under £137,000 had been received and some of that funding could be set aside for that purpose; however, further discussions would have to be had with the Anglia Revenues Partnership to set a workable policy.


Members supported this request.


Councillor Wickerson raised concerns about the climate change report as it was being presented to Council on 25h February 2021, the same date as the budget approval. and asked if the report could be available to Members beforehand.


Councillor Cowen stated that it remained a significant part of the Council’s aspiration to drive the climate change agenda forward and they were fully committed to supporting it.


The report was otherwise noted and approved; subject to the Executive Member for Finance, in consultation with the Chief Accountant and the Anglia Revenues & Benefits Partnership, to establish a hardship fund using 50% of the available resources and the budget be amended accordingly. 




Meeting: 04/01/2021 - Cabinet (Item 15)

Barnham Broom Golf & Country Club Investment Asset

Report of Councillor Paul Hewitt, Executive Member for Contracts and Assets.

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Members discussed the report that considered the future long-term interest of the Barnham Broom Golf & Country Club.


RESOLVED that Option 3 of the report be approved subject to the satisfactory completion of the necessary due diligence which shall be delegated to the Executive Director of Place in consultation with the Executive Member for Contracts & Assets. However, if there is no material progress to the completion of Option 3 within an appropriate timescale, authority is delegated to the Executive Director of Place in consultation with the Executive Member for Contracts & Assets to undertake Option 2.


Meeting: 04/01/2021 - Cabinet (Item 8)

8 Draft budget, medium term plan and capital strategy 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Report of Councillor Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance & Growth.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member for Finance and Growth presented the report that asked Members to consider the draft capital and revenue budget estimates, the draft medium term financial plan and the draft capital strategy. 


He thanked the Finance team for the report and was pleased to put forward a balanced budget for 2021-22 which not only protected frontline services from cuts but would see a number of services enhanced; for example, improved waste service, the recruitment of new officers focused on fly tipping, business support, COVID-compliance and support and animal welfare, and honouring commitments to the climate change and vulnerability programmes. 


The pandemic had created uncertainty in terms of levels of government funding, fees and charges income and investment returns that could be expected.  However, believed a balanced budget could be achieved without using the core reserves if the annual council tax was increased by £4.95 for a band D property, though most people in the District would see a smaller rise as around 75% of houses were bands A-C.


The draft budget would also be presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission for consideration.  In addition, it was available on the website for residents to view and provide feedback through to 21 January 2021.  The final budget would be presented to Cabinet and Full Council in February 2021.


Members thanked the Executive Member and the Finance team for providing a comprehensive report and good results under the circumstances.


Councillor Jermy asked for an update on the Local Council Tax Support Scheme as whilst there would be a financial increase for Breckland, the percentage increase for residents could be considerable and providing support for those on low incomes was crucial.   The Chief Accountant confirmed there would not be a proposed change to the Breckland Local Council Tax Support Scheme that offered 91.5% support.  The Government had recently introduced new funding to assist with Local Council Tax Support, the majority of which would go to County Council.


Councillor Birt said the increase of £4.95 to the Council Tax (Band D) was the same level as last year and that by applying the maximum gave the impression that the Council was under resourced.  He highlighted that the report referenced new targets that were to be identified and whilst a significant amount of money had been allocated to those projects felt there was more detail available than had been presented in the report.  He also noted that funding had not been allocated for the climate emergency capital projects and asked how the Council would prepare the Capital budgets in the future to fight climate change.


The Executive Member for Finance and Growth said that the specific figures identified had been shared as it was known what they were likely to be.  It was not unusual to have a funding gap which was at £652k and efficiencies would need to be found over the coming year.  Looking ahead to future years, alternative ways of working would need to be considered which in turn would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8