Agenda and minutes

Venue: Norfolk Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Items
No. Item

24/13

Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

None.

25/13

Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting (Agenda item 4)

To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.

Minutes:

Mesdames Chapman-Allen, S Matthews and A Steward and Messrs G Bambridge, T Carter, P Cowen, T Jermy, R Kybird, M Nairn and D Williams.

 

Mr Roger Atterwill from Swanton Morley Parish Council was also in attendance.

26/13

Budget, Financial Medium Term Plan and Capital Strategy (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Report by Ellen Jolly, Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services started by explaining the background as to why this budget report was being presented to Cabinet at this time.

 

At the recent Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting, the Executive Member had already made Members aware of major changes in Government legislation and policy often not being finalised until the 11th hour which left little time for consultation and implementation.  This had been the case in regard to the confirmation being received from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for the level of the Council’s Revenue Support Grant and the quantification of the uplift in business rates as a result of the new Business Rate Retention Scheme.  Additionally, the Government’s Council Tax referendum criteria had not been confirmed until early February 2014. All this information had arrived too late for the Cabinet meeting on 11 February 2014.  Breckland Council had always taken important financial decisions based on fact rather than possibility and given the circumstances, this was the reason it had been necessary to have this additional Cabinet meeting.

 

Now that the Council was in possession of this information, the Executive Member was pleased to announce that the authority was in a stronger financial position that had been envisaged.   This would mean, should Full Council approve, that Breckland Council’s portion of Council Tax could be frozen and the same amount of money could be distributed to the Town and Parish Councils as last year.  All the above would still enable the Council to protect its baseline budget.

 

The report set out the Budget for 2014-15 and the Medium Term Financial Plan until 2018-19; this covered:

 

  • The Revenue budget and fees and charges
  • Earmarked Revenue Reserves
  • Capital Strategy and programme of projects.

 

The report proposed that Cabinet recommended to Full Council:

 

  1. a balanced budget until 2016-17
  2. a Council Tax freeze for two years
  3. the Band D Council Tax to remain at £69.03, the equivalent to £1.33 per week.
  4. that a contribution of £305k be included in the budget so that parishes received the same amount next year for Council tax support as they had in this current year.

 

In the Autumn Statement, the Government announced Business Rate Relief in years 2014-15 and 2015-16 on occupied retail properties with a rateable value of £50k or less.  To achieve this, Breckland Council would be setting a scheme that supported local retail business and would be fully reimbursed through a Government grant for this to be delivered.  Once again, the final scheme guidelines had not yet been published by the Government; therefore, it was being recommended that once this information had been released, adoption of the local scheme guidelines be delegated to the Assistant Director of Finance in consultation with the relevant Portfolio Holders.

 

Breckland Council had worked hard to achieve efficiencies early in order to present balanced budgets for the next two years and this had contributed to an increase in Reserves.  This healthy Reserve position would need to be used to support projects to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26/13

27/13

Next Meeting (Agenda item 7)

To note that the date of the next Cabinet meeting will be held on 1 April 2014 at 9.30am in the Anglia Room.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 were noted.