Agenda item

Draft Estimates 2013/14 and Medium Term Plan (Agenda item 10)

Report by the Assistant Director of Finance.


The Assistant Director of Finance presented the report which asked Members to consider the draft Capital and Revenue Budget estimates, the Financial Medium Term Plan and the Capital Strategy and release for consultation.


Members were informed that the report had already been considered by the Cabinet at its meeting on 9 December 2013.


A very detailed presentation was provided by the Accountancy Manager and the high level key issues were highlighted (a copy of the presentation is attached for Members’ information).


All figures shown were prior to the Autumn Statement announcement.


Cllr Nairn asked a question in relation to the National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR) assumptions.  Members were informed that no inflation for growth had been incorporated; however, Appendix F highlighted the sensitivities and showed the potential of what could be achieved if there was any economic growth.


The Vice-Chairman asked who the ‘top earners’ were for NNDR.  The Accountancy Manager explained that the top ten rate payers were mainly supermarkets.  The Assistant Director of Finance pointed out that supermarkets should be classed as ‘double edged swords’ as not only were they the biggest rate payers they were also categorised as high risk in relation to Appeals for rate reduction.  Mr Ludlow asked if money from the NHS Transformation fund had been included.  Members were informed that nothing had been received as yet but if there was it would have to be set against new spend.


The Chairman mentioned the New Homes Bonus (NHB) which he felt was forcing authorities to build more housing putting more pressure on planning.  He further felt; however, that NHB was very important for Breckland’s finances and land or development should not be held back and should be addressed forthwith.  The Vice-Chairman suggested that the Council’s Economic Development Team should provide a briefing on how it was promoting growth in the area.  Cllr Jolly asked the Chairman what information he required.  The Chairman advised that the Committee needed to know the reasons why Breckland Council was under provisioned in land supply compared to South Norfolk District Council that apparently was doing very well on NHB monies.


The Vice-Chairman stated that according to recent data there was more development on infill sites.


Cllr Jolly highlighted the fact that Breckland Council had been successful on its Empty Homes Policy and had brought many such homes back into use which in turn would have an effect on NHB and Council Tax.   In relation to land supply and development, Cllr Jolly reported that the Local Plan Working Group was focusing on these matters.


Mr Stevens asked a question in relation to supermarkets having any S106 implications in terms of revenue costs.  Members were informed that there were none in any of the current projects.  The Chairman felt that this should be shown as a low risk in future.


In response to questions, the Accountancy Manager advised that the £1m for affordable housing shown in the Capital Budget came under the Housing remit and was from Council funding.  The street lighting project was in progress and was in relation to towns taking on options for provision of street lighting.


Mr Ludlow asked a question in relation to financial checks on current contracts.  The Assistant Director of Finance advised that this would be part of the Council’s Business Continuity Plan.


The report was noted.


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