Agenda item

Draft budget, medium term plan and capital strategy 2021-22

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

Minutes:

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 result in efficiencies and reduce cost.  The Climate Change agenda had been considered as part of the overall plan going forward and funding would be available through the capital budgets going forward.

 

Options

 

That the draft capital and revenue budget estimates, the draft medium term financial plan and the draft capital strategy are reviewed.

 

Reasons for Recommendation(s)

 

To comply with budgetary and policy framework and allow consultation with Members.

 

 

RESOLVED that the draft capital and revenue budget estimates, the draft medium term financial plan and the draft capital strategy be reviewed, in preparation for the final budget setting in February 2021.

 

Supporting documents: