Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny of the Administration's Budget Proposals - Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 5.30 p.m.

The Agenda for this meeting will be published 5 clear working days before the scheduled date of the meeting. The Minutes and Decisions for this meeting will normally be published within 9 working days following the date of the meeting.

Note: this does not apply to Scrutiny Working Groups or Scrutiny Commissioners meetings, please contact the relevant Scrutiny Officer for more information on the work programme for these Groups.

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices, Narborough. View directions

Contact: Linda McBean  0116 272 7708

Items
No. Item

1.

2019-20 Budget - Context and Overview pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To consider the report of the Strategic Director (Section 151 Officer).

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed members and officers to the meeting and invited the Strategic Director (S151 Officer) to present her report.

 

Key points:

 

·       Business Rate Retention reform and Fair Funding Review –

o   proposed changes expected to be put in place for 2020/21 with no certainty at this stage on how changes will impact the Council.

o   the Council’s significant reliance on related income streams to Business Rate Retention and Fair Funding

 

·       Total Net Budget requirement for 2019-20  £12.3m  (2018-19 £11.3m)

 

·       2019-20 Budget gap  £166k

 

·       Council Tax - possible increase options:

 

o   For 2019/20 the threshold for Council Tax increases for “core” Band D Council Tax has remained unchanged with local authorities able to increase their Council Tax by up to 3% (2.99%). An additional amount of £158k would be generated with a 2.99% increase which equates to an increase of £4.73 per annum, £163.05 for a Band D equivalent property.

 

o   District Councils may however raise Council Tax by £5 without triggering a referendum. This is still an option that Blaby may look to adopt given it is  marginally larger (3.16%) than the 2.99% increase.  This option would generate an additional £167k, £163.32 for a Band D equivalent property.

 

·       New Homes Bonus

o   £2.851m will be utilised in 2019-20 to underpin budget requirements and fund services.

 

o   On current indications, if NHB funding was removed on a phased basis, £750k would be removed each year from 2020/21, with a  cumulative impact of removing £3m from the funding envelope by the 4th year (2023/24).

 

·       Business Rates

o   £400k expected in 2019-20 as  Blaby apportionment of 75% Business Rate Pilot scheme  to support invest to save expenditure and infrastructure to promote housing and business growth. 

 

o   The mechanism for the distribution of business rates is expected to be changed in 2020-21 and will not impact on the 2019-20 financial year.

 

·       Business Rate Retention Reform

o   Potential for Blaby to lose the benefit of growth it has generated since 2013-14 if the government takes forward a full baseline reset from 2020-21.

 

o   The new system is likely to reward growth more generously (75% retention rate rather than 50% with a limited levy).

 

o   The tier split of the increased retained rates is likely to alter. Currently Blaby retains 40% (but is subject to a further levy) with County Council at 9% and Fire at 1%.

 

o   There are still suggestions that some specific grants will be funded from Business Rate retention e.g. Public Health.

 

·       Fairer Funding Review

o   Continuing lack of clarity as to how the review will directly impact the Council.

 

 

2.

2019/20 Draft Budget Proposals pdf icon PDF 307 KB

a)    To consider Portfolio proposed budget and spending plans for 2019-20; and

 

b)    Prepare lines of questioning for Portfolio Holders written response in advance of the next meeting on  Wednesday 16 January 2019.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman adjourned the meeting for 5 minutes for Portfolio Holders to leave.

 

The Chairman opened discussion to develop lines of questioning for each Portfolio area relating to the 2019-20 draft Budget proposals attached with the agenda as well as from information presentation by the Strategic Director (S.151 Officer) at item 2.

 

Main lines of questioning discussed related to:

 

·       Reasons for increases in Establishment Costs

·       Business Rate Retention bid

·       Maximising income opportunities

·       Delivery of large strategic projects

·       Lightbulb project funding

·       Partnership working

 

The Chairman explained questions would be prepared for submission to Portfolio Holders prior to the next Scrutiny Budget meeting on Wednesday 16 January 2019 for their response and any further questions identified could still be submitted by members for or during this meeting.