Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny of the Administration's Budget Proposals - Wednesday, 12th January, 2022 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: via Zoom

Contact: Democratic Services  0116 272 7640

Items
No. Item

1.

Budget Context Setting and Overview pdf icon PDF 234 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Members and Officers to the meeting and invited the Strategic Director (Section 151 Officer) to present her report.

 

Key Points:

 

Impact of the Settlement December 2021

 

Key elements of the Statement that impact on the budget position for 2022/23 are:

 

·         Confirmation of settlement figures for 2022/23. It was hoped that a three year settlement would be received but only one year was confirmed.

·         Continuation of New Homes Bonus

·         Council Tax increase thresholds

·         Any changes to Business Rate Baseline

·         Information relating to additional funding streams

 

Alongside the Settlement the government also published a technical consultation paper on the provisional local government finance settlement 2022/23.

 

Funding the Budget

 

The impact of the pandemic continues to impact on some of the Council’s revenue streams and is reflected in income levels for some service areas. Income from services is netted off against the costs within the net budget requirement so is not shown in the funding figures.

 

This reflects:

 

·         Redistributed NNDR has decreased by £466k from 2021/22 to 2022/23. Whilst we have seen units at Fosse Park West opening, we have a considerable number of empty units and uncertainty around rateable values which have contributed to this decrease.

·         COVID Emergency Funding – none assumed for 2022/23.

·         COVID Sales Fees & Charges Compensation – none assumed for 2022/23.

·         New Homes Bonus (NHB) Grant has reduced by £586k. It was expected that NHB would be significantly reduced in 2022/23, however this was less significant with the payment of another one year only NHB payment of £240k.

·         Lower Tier Services grant – a one off grant to compensate Councils to ensure core spending power has not reduced.

·         Services Grant – A distribution of £1.5bn additional funding – distributed utilising the 2013/14 funding formula and has favoured more deprived areas – a mechanism for levelling up.

·         Council Tax precept has increased by £42k. This is before any increase is applied but reflects the increase in the tax base (increase in properties) in the district. It should be noted that the increase in the taxbase is lower due to reduced build rates in 2022/23 that haven’t recovered to pre-Covid levels.

 

Business Rates:

 

It has been especially difficult to forecast the growth within the budget figures in 2022/23. This is due to:

 

·         New properties within Fosse Park West not being officially rated by the Valuation Office (VO) and estimates have been included.

·         Estimating empty properties for Fosse Park West

·         The ever present risk that appeals put forward by businesses may impact unfavourably on the amount of income that Blaby is able to release.

 

Blaby use advice from experts to understand the appeals that have been put forward and to make a provision for these appeals. Increasing the provision will reduce the amount of business rate income that can be retained.

 

New Homes Bonus

 

The Council has continued to generate New Homes Bonus (NHB) from the increase in houses built in the district. Since 2013/14 the New Homes Bonus has been used to underpin the budget requirement as government  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1.

2.

2022-2023 Draft Portfolio Budget Proposals (to follow) pdf icon PDF 432 KB

a) To consider the proposed 2022-23 budget and spending plans for each

Portfolio area.

 

b) Prepare lines of questioning for a written response from Portfolio Holders in

advance of the next Scrutiny Budget meeting on Wednesday 19 January

2022.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Ian Fifield who then opened discussion to develop lines of questioning relating to the 2022/23 draft Budget Proposals.

 

Preliminary lines of questioning were identified for submission to Portfolio Holders prior to the next Scrutiny Budget meeting on Wednesday 19 January 2022 for their response.

 

The Chairman explained that any supplemental questions could still be submitted by Members before or at the next meeting.

3.

Date of next Meeting

·         Wednesday 19 January 2022

Minutes:

·         19 January 2022.