Venue: Conference Room, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions
WELCOME AND APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs McGowan, Charalambous and Brett and from Rob Leak, Anthony Murphy and Alicia Meniru.
Apologies for lateness were received from Cllr Georgiou.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the Council are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary other pecuniary or non pecuniary interests relevant to items on the agenda.
No declarations of interest were made.
Enfield’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee has set up a Budget Meeting to consider the proposals within the Council’s 2015/16 Budget Consultation.
The purpose of the Committee Meeting is to:
(a) Seek comments on and consider the Budget Consultation proposals,
(b) To prepare a response on the Budget Consultation proposals for consideration by Cabinet and Council as part of the budget setting process.
A Programme for the Budget Meeting is attached. A report is to follow.
Members of the Committee are asked to note:
· the public have been invited to attend the meeting to participate in the budget consultation process;
· that Cabinet is due to consider the response from the budget consultation process at its meeting on 11 February 2015. The final response agreed by the Committee will be referred onto Cabinet for consideration as part of this process. The Council’s final 2015/16 budget proposals are due to be considered and approved at the Council meeting on 25 February 2015.
Doug Taylor, Leader of the Council, gave a brief introduction to attendees.
He commented that it had been a difficult financial year for the Council and future years would remain so as reductions in Central Government funding and increased pressures continued. The Council had this year undertaken an extensive consultation on the budget proposals for 2015/16 and the results would be presented to the Committee. Residents were invited to raise any questions or make any comments on these proposals.
James Rolfe, Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services, gave a presentation on the budget proposals for 2015/16 and the results of the Budget Consultation, the main points of which were as follows:
· A graph set out the funding gap over the four years from 15/16 to 18/19; beginning at £34m and rising to £80m by the end of 18/19.
· Savings proposals had been put forward to address the gap, these comprised savings achieved through the Enfield 2017 Programme, front line savings and income received through Council Tax (assumed figures and not yet confirmed).
· Pressures and risks identified included further Central Government cuts, potential increased responsibilities under the Care Act 2014, population growth and an ageing population in the Borough, increases in the cost of borrowing, inflation and an upturn in the property market which caused increases in rents paid for temporary accommodation.
· The 2015/16 Budget had been agreed by Council on 26 February 2014. Front line ‘green’ savings had been agreed by Cabinet on 12 November 2014. Meetings had taken place with both the Labour and Conservative Groups to discuss the increased funding gap on 11 and 26 January.
· The latest figures for the Council’s ongoing significant pressure on the Council’s budget was the impact of the increased costs of Temporary Accommodation.
· New savings proposals to close the funding gap included a review of the Play Service, a reduction in funding for community events by the Council (events would be increasingly funded and run by the community instead) and bringing forward a redesign of the Museum Service.
· The Budget Consultation had covered all front line parts of the Council and had used a variety of methods to engage with residents including an online Budget Simulator, a questionnaire in Our Enfield, Focus Groups and a stand at the Autumn Show.
· The Consultation had also been taken to the Enfield Youth Parliament who had provided a high volume of responses with over 4,000 comments received.
· The top 5 services that residents wished to maintain were mental health, children in the care of Enfield, early intervention and child protection, older people and physical disabilities.
· The bottom 5 services that residents wished to maintain were cultural services, pest control, planning, libraries and museums and grants to voluntary organisations.
· The Budget 2015/16 would next be taken to Cabinet for agreement on 11 February and to Council on 25 February. The ... view the full minutes text for item 346.