A report from the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services is attached. This seeks approval, for recommendation to full Council, of the Budget 2015/16 and Medium Term Financial Plan (General Fund). This report should be read in conjunction with Report No.166, agenda part two refers. (Key decision – reference number 3957)
Note: The appendices marked “to follow” will be circulated to Members as soon as possible.
(8.20 – 8.30 pm)
Councillor Andrew Stafford (Cabinet Member for Finance) introduced the report of the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services (No.158) presenting the Budget 2015/16 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2015/16 to 2018/19 (General Fund) for recommendation to full Council for approval.
1. That the attention of Members was drawn to the comments in paragraph 2.11 of the report regarding S106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 which required any Member who was two months or more in arrears on their Council Tax to declare their position and to not vote on any issue that could affect the calculation of the budget or Council Tax.
2. That Report No.166 also referred as detailed in Minute No.23 below.
3. That an amendment sheet to the report had been circulated. In the final Government budget settlement for 2015/16 published on 3 February 2015, the reduction in Revenue Support Grant (RSG) had not been as high as forecast. The expected RSG was £58.811m and the final amount confirmed was now £59.325m, a difference of £0.514m. This sum would be placed into contingent items and a decision could be made as to its utilisation as part of the 2015/16 revenue monitoring process. The changes to the tables in the report had been set out for Members and would be reflected in the report to Council. The amendments referred to the tables in the following sections of the report: 5.3, 7.2, 8.3 and 10.3.
4. Councillor Stafford highlighted for Members the progress in setting the budget for 2015/16 and the medium term financial plan; the level of savings which had been achieved from 2010-2014; and, the level of savings predicted from 2015-2019. The report proposed no increase in the level of council tax for 2015-16. The implications of reductions in Government grant funding to the Council was identified.
5. Members’ attention was drawn to the continuing risks and pressures impacting on the Council’s budget as set out in full in the report. Section 11 of the report set out the budget risks, uncertainties and opportunities.
6. Councillor Stafford highlighted section 10.6 of the report setting out the views of the Local Government Association; and those of the National Audit Office as reported in section 10.10 of the report.
7. The report set out proposals for a balanced budget for 2015/16.
8. The detailed capital programme as set out in the report, section 9 and Appendix 9 of the report referred. The impact of the recommended capital programme was reflected in the current borrowing requirements set out as Prudential Indicators, detailed in appendix 4 of the report.
9. The contingencies and general balances as set out in section 12 of the report. The levels proposed were appropriate and prudent. The level of borrowing would continue to be closely monitored. The proposed budget was robust, as detailed in the report.
10. The consultation that had taken place on the budget and the comments that had been received. These comments had been taken into account when setting ... view the full minutes text for item 7