A report from the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services is attached. This sets out a number of recommendations for approval by full Council. (Report No.178, agenda part two also refers) (Key decision – reference number 4175)
(8.20 – 8.30pm)
Councillor Doug Taylor (Leader of the Council) informed Members that the Council budget had been drawn up on the basis of the provisional Local Government settlement, as set out in full in the report. Enfield had not benefitted from any transitional funding elements. Pressures were particularly being experienced by Outer London Boroughs. Cabinet this evening was being asked to consider the budget being presented and make recommendations to full Council for the final budget approval. Members were asked to note that the proposed overall increase over the 2015/16 Council Tax was 1.78%, as detailed in the report.
Councillor Andrew Stafford (Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency) introduced the detail of the report of the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services (No.171).
1. That Report No.178 also referred as detailed in Minute No.19 below.
2. That the proposals within the report would enable the Council to balance the 2016/17 budget. Members were asked to note the level of savings required and the further central government funding reductions that were expected over the next 3 years.
3. The budget consultation that had taken place as set out in detail in section 4 of the report. The feedback from all of the consultation processes had been presented to the Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 1 February 2016, the minutes of which were tabled for Members’ consideration this evening as part of their consideration of the budget proposals; and would form part of the report to full Council. It was noted that the majority of consultation responses received had indicated that a rise in council tax would be preferable to further cuts in services. It was felt that further cuts in council services could not be sustained. Councillor Stafford outlined the proposed increase in the level of Council Tax as set out in detail in the report.
4. The report included full detail on the budget considerations and proposals including treasury management, risk analysis and the capital programme. The Council’s capital programme continued to be significant and would benefit the regeneration and economy of the Borough.
5. The recommendations in the report were drawn to Members’ attention. In particular Members were asked to note recommendation 2.12 of the report regarding the Government’s 4 year funding offer and that a further report would be presented to Members once sufficient details to make a recommendation were made available by the Government.
6. That recommendation 2.13 of the report sought approval to delegate authority to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency and the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services to agree any necessary changes in preparation of the budget 2016/17 and Medium Term Financial Plan report to Council on 24 February 2016.
7. Councillor Ayfer Orhan highlighted the work which had been undertaken by the Council and London Councils as a whole in raising the issue of, and concerns over, cuts to schools’ budgets.
8. The significant population growth in Enfield and Outer London as a whole, which was not being recognised in the Government’s funding allocations. The demand for services continued to grow at a time when central government funding reductions were implemented.
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 this report including information from the Budget Consultation set out elsewhere in this report. As part of its planning for both 2016/17 and future years the Council had considered future levels of Council Tax.
RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL
1. To note that the attention of Members was drawn to the comments in paragraph 2.15 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. With regard to the revenue budget for 2016/17:
(i) Set the Council Tax requirement for Enfield at £107.915m in 2016/17.
(ii) Set the Council Tax at Band D for Enfield’s services for 2016/17 at £1,144.17 (paragraph 8.1 of the report), being a 1.98% general Council Tax increase and a 2.00% Adult Social Care Precept.
(iii) Approves the statutory calculations and resolutions set out in Appendix 10 of the report.
3. With regard to the Prudential Code and the Capital Programme:
(i) Notes the information regarding the requirements of the Prudential Code (section 9 of the report).
(ii) Agrees the Approved Capital Programme for 2016/17 to 2019/20 as set out in section 9 of the report and appendix 9. To also note the Indicative Capital Programme and recommend that Council agrees that these indicative programmes be reviewed in the light of circumstances at the time.
(iii) Agrees the Prudential Indicators, the Treasury Management Strategy, the Minimum Revenue Provision statement and the criteria for investments set out in section 9 and appendices 4 and 5 of the report.
4. To agree the Medium Term Financial Plan and adopts the key principles set out in paragraph 10.11 of the report.
5. With regard to the robustness of the 2016/17 budget and the adequacy of the Council’s earmarked reserves and balances:
(i) Notes the risks and uncertainties inherent in the 2016/17 budget and the Medium Term Financial Plan (sections 10 and 11 of the report referred) and agree the actions in hand to mitigate them.
(ii) Note the advice of the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services regarding the recommended levels of contingencies, balances and earmarked reserves (section 12 of the report) and has regard to the Director’s statement (section 13 of the report) when making final decisions on the 2016/17 budget.
(iii) Agree the recommended levels of central contingency and general balances (section 12 of the report).
6. To agree the Schools Budget for 2016/17 (section 5.13 and Appendix 13 of the report).
7. To agree the Fees and Charges for Environmental Services for 2016/17 (section 10.14 and Appendix 12 of the report).
8. To agree the Fees and Charges for Adult Social Care Services for 2016/17 (section 10.15 and Appendix 11 of the report, subject to consultation.
9. That the New Homes Bonus be applied as a one-off contribution to the General Fund in 2016/17.
10. To approve the policy for the calculation of Minimum Revenue Provision (Section 9 and appendix 4 of the report).
11. To approve the adoption of the new flexible use of capital receipts as announced by the DCLG for 2016/17 to 2019/20 and note the Council’s Initial Efficiency Plan for new capital receipts (appendix 14 of the report).
12. To note the Government’s 4 year funding offer and that a further report would be presented to Members once sufficient details to make a recommendation were made available by the Government.
13. To consider the feedback and results from the Budget Consultation and Overview and Scrutiny Committee Budget Meeting on 1 February 2016.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to delegate authority to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency and the Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services to agree any necessary changes in preparation of the Budget 2016/17 and Medium Term Financial Plan Report to Council on 24 February 2016.
Reason: To set out the Council’s Budget requirement and level of Council Tax for 2016/17 within the timescales set out in legislation. To agree the Treasury Management Prudential Indicators and, the Capital Programme for 2016/17.
(Key decision – reference number 4175)