Report of the Director of Finance.
The Sub-Committee considered the draft Revenue Budget 2017/18 and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2017/18 to 2019/20 which were due to be considered by Cabinet on 8 December 2016.
Following an overview of the report by the Director of Finance, Members asked the following questions and received responses from the officer and Portfolio Holder:
Q – What were the proposals for the use of capital receipts?
A – A decision on the implementation of the flexibility given by the government on the use of capital receipts would be made by Cabinet in February.
Q - What assumptions were being made for an increase in council tax? Was any flexibility built into the increase in the tax base to take into account additional property that did not come to fruition, for example where planning permission was not granted?
A – The draft budget assumes Council Tax increase at 1.99%. The tax base took account of developments in the borough which were supported by a valuation list and any intelligence that suggested amendment was required would be addressed. The 2017/18 base had been close to that forecasted.
Q – Could clarification be given as paragraph 1.17 referenced savings of £4.7m for 2017/18 that would not be taken forward but table 2 indicated £5.3m?
A – This would be checked. The value of the savings being removed from the budget as not being taken forward was £4.7m, with £1.1m from additional commercialisation savings remaining in the budget.
Q – What was in place to reverse the slide in business rate income which had been of concern to the Peer Review? How would the regeneration programme reverse the trend and how would it be resourced?
A – A report on the regeneration plan was scheduled to be submitted to Cabinet and would include the response to the questions made.
Q – Would the identification of £6.374m net growth result in the need for additional savings?
A – The need to fund the gap was acknowledged and compensatory action were shown in the draft budget including savings, precept or Council tax. A refresh process resulted in the removal or reprofile of savings that had not been achieved or had been late.
Q – How would the revised gap of £3.039m for 2017/18 in table 2 be dealt with? Would Members be provided with information as to the proportion of the disposal programme to be spent on capital flexibility. Sums spent in this manner restricted their use on transformation projects or in reducing the council tax.
A – The report to Cabinet indicated that application of the capital receipts flexibility would offset the £3.039m. The individual sums received via the disposal programme would not be publically available. The use of the capital flexibility was a one off opportunity. Any ideas from Members regarding transformation projects would be welcomed.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.