To consider the draft capital and revenue budget estimates, the medium term financial plan and the capital strategy and release for consultation. (Joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) enclosed.)
Consideration was given to the joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) which sought consideration of the draft capital and revenue budget estimates, the medium term financial plan and the capital strategy and approval to release for consultation. Appendices A – H within the report set out the following information:
· Appendix A – Budget estimates and medium term financial plan
· Appendix B – Budget Summary 2016/17
· Appendix C – Spalding Special Expenses
· Appendix D – Reserves
· Appendix E – Capital estimates
· Appendix F – Capital strategy
· Appendix G – Treasury Strategy
· Appendix H – Fees & Charges
The Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) advised members that the Council was in a significantly improved position compared to previous years with a clear set of options available to them to secure a balanced budget across the medium term. Councillors’ ambition to reduce reliance on the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) had been incorporated in to the medium term financial plan. Although the medium term plan covered the period to 2020, the formal budget consultation process related specifically to the coming financial year 2016/17. However, in line with best practice and agreements made last year the consultation and scrutiny process would incorporate the full medium term picture.
In relation to the Financial Forecast Outturn Report which had just been considered, the Minimum Revenue Provision adjustment information was going to be presented to the Joint Performance Monitoring and Policy Development Panel in January as part of the draft budget scrutiny process. The final draft budget would be presented to Cabinet in January, incorporating comments from the Joint Performance Monitoring and Policy Development Panel for Cabinet to take into account ahead of any recommendations to Council.
Members discussed the assumptions and objectives of the budget. The Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) explained that it was planned to build up a resilience to ensure the Council was less reliant on Central Government funding which in turn would protect front line services from fluctuations in grant awards. The council used the Local Government Association’s model for forecasting potential cuts to RSG ahead of any confirmed position. Previously the model had been incorrectly applied. The draft budget corrected those assumptions which now reflected a 40% reduction in RSG across a four year period. The Chancellor’s recent statement gave some cause for optimism but the model would not be further amended until actual settlement figures were confirmed in mid-December. These confirmed figures would be used for the final draft budget for Cabinet and Council.
Councillor C N Worth queried reference to a £0 shortfall. The Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) advised that the numbers were equal for the net cost of services and the budget requirement hence a nil shortfall.
Councillor A M Newton referred to the paragraph on page 35 within Appendix A which stated that it had been assumed that the supplementary waste services would not continue as part of an arrangement with Lincolnshire County Council for providing a Saturday morning service. She queried whether there was anything that the Council could do to assist the villages in South Holland in the interim period. The Leader suggested that councillors who were also County Councillors should liaise with Lincolnshire County Council regarding the situation. Councillor B Alcock pointed out that the cessation of the service would no doubt cost the Council money as a result.
That the draft capital and revenue budget estimates, the medium term financial plan and the capital strategy be reviewed and released for consultation.
(Other options considered:
· Not to approve the recommendations; or
· To approve the recommendations with amendments.
Reasons for decision:
· To comply with the budgetary and policy framework.)