To receive the report of the Executive Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services presenting for approval the Budget for 2017/18 and Medium Term Financial Plan (General Fund). (Report No: 194A)
(Key Decision – Reference No: 4371)
Members are asked to note that:
· Recommendations 2.1 – 2.12 were endorsed and recommended onto Council for formal approval by Cabinet on 8 February 2017.
· The report will need to be considered in conjunction with Report No: 204A on the Part 2 Council agenda.
Councillor Taylor moved and Councillor Lemonides seconded the report of the Executive Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services (171A) presenting for approval the Budget for 2017/18 and the Medium Term Financial Plan.
1. Recommendations 2.1 – 2.12 had been endorsed and recommended onto Council for formal approval by Cabinet on 8 February 2017.
2. The revised Appendix 10 to the report as tabled at the meeting.
3. The report would need to be considered in conjunction with Report No: 204A on the Part 2 Council agenda (Min ??? refers).
4. The following comments highlighted by the Leader of the Council:
a. He could not excuse the way that the Government, since 2010, had systematically reduced the support to public services. Local Government was the bedrock of public provision from cradle to grave and had served this country well.
b. The current Government was cutting so hard and so deep that he felt that the fabric of local provision was on the brink of collapse.
c. Budgets should be about improving services but local government was being defined by Conservative financial mismanagement and continuing austerity policies. It was now 10 years since the financial crash and things ought to be improving. Instead Government deficits are increasing and services being cut.
d. Local Authorities were being instructed that they must find the extra money for social care but this will mean further cuts, dirtier streets, less public provision, riskier child protection and closure of voluntary sector initiatives.
e. The Conservatives’ ideological desire to shrink the state and hand over services to a marketised, privatised and unaccountable system, making services uncompetitive, under-resourced and overburdened is overriding the needs of ordinary people.
f. Despite the difficult times he felt that there have been achievements to celebrate including the Meridian Water proposals, new housing opportunities, the provision of social care and children’s services to thousands of people, improvements to schools, keeping parks and playgrounds open and the streets clean.
g. This has been achieved through sound financial management and despite the lack of fair funding for Enfield. If the Council had the same level of funding as Westminster we would have an extra £86m.
h. The administration were resolved to manage the authorities money carefully and would take tough action on the overspend. Many other London boroughs were also struggling to maintain spending within budgets.
i. Enfield was good at collecting council taxes increasing the collection rate and reducing arrears by 2.1m.
j. Having set a zero increase Council tax for 7 years it was with reluctance that he was proposing at 1.99% increase plus 3% social care precept which would add £1.10 per week to the average band D property. In contrast Government cuts since 2010 equate to £710 per household.
k. To meet adult social care pressures the council needed an extra £8.6m for social care and an extra £2.5m for Children’s Services. To note that the Leader of Surrey County Council had been looking for a 15% increase in Council ... view the full minutes text for item 7
A report from the Executive Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services will be circulated as soon as possible. (Report No.204, agenda part two also refers). (Key decision – reference number 4371)
(8.20 – 8.30 pm)
Councillor Dino Lemonides (Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency) introduced the report of the Executive Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services (No.194) recommending the general revenue budget and council tax for the 2017/18 financial year.
1. That Report No.204 also referred as detailed in Minute No.21 below.
2. That Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 required any Member who was two months or more in arrears on their Council Tax to declare their position and not to vote on any issue that could affect the calculation of the budget or the Council Tax. Any Member affected by Section 106 who failed to declare this could be subject to prosecution.
3. That in summary the report recommended:
· A net revenue budget of £228.4m, a 3.95% decrease when compared with 2016/17.
· A core council tax of £1,166.90 at Band D, a 1.99% increase.
· A further £34.33 at Band D to pay for Adult Social Care as allowed by central government, a 3% increase on 2016/17.
This would result in a headline charge for Enfield Council of £1,201.23 at Band D, a 4.99% increase.
4. The outcome of the recent budget consultation as set out in the report.
5. The continued pressures on service demand in the areas of Adult Social Care and Children’s Services together with the ongoing reduction in public spending by the Government.
6. Members’ attention was drawn to Appendix 8 of the report providing a “Statement of the Section 151 Officer under the requirements of Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003 and robustness of budget estimates and adequacy of the services – February 2017”. Members noted the forecast budget gap over the next 3 years in relation to the Medium Term Financial Plan, as set out in the report.
7. Councillor Sitkin noted the expenditure which had been incurred in relation to street lighting and festive lighting and highlighted the inaccuracy of an earlier press release regarding this issue.
8. The recent press reports regarding the Government’s funding settlement for Surrey County Council. Members expressed their concern over the apparent lack of fairness in the distribution of financial settlements to local authorities nationally and, their view that allocations to the minority should not be to the detriment of the majority of local authorities.
Alternative Options Considered: The Council operated a budget planning and consultation process during which a wide range of options were considered in detail before recommendations were made. Issues raised and discussed had greatly contributed to the report including information from the Budget Consultation set out in the report. As part of its planning for both 2017/18 and future years the Council had considered future levels of Council Tax.
RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL
1. To draw the attention of Members to the comments in paragraph 2.14 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 not vote ... view the full minutes text for item 6