To consider the Council’s draft budget proposals for 2015/16:
a) Corporate Services Department
b) Chief Executive’s Office
c) Feedback from Overview and Scrutiny Panels and overall conclusions.
The Panel considered the Council’s draft budget proposals for 2015/16 in relation to the Corporate Services Department and the Chief Executive’s Office, and received feedback from Overview and Scrutiny Panels and overall conclusions.
The Executive agreed the Council’s draft budget proposals for 2015/16 at its meeting on 16 December 2014 as the basis for consultation with the Overview and Scrutiny Commission, Overview and Scrutiny Panels and other interested parties. The consultation period would run until 27 January 2015, after which the Executive would consider the representations made at its meeting on 10 February 2015, before recommending the budget to Council.
Attached to the report were extracts from the 2015/16 Revenue Budget and Capital Programme. The extracts were comprised of Revenue Budget Report, Commitment Budget, Draft Revenue Budget Pressures, Draft Revenue Budget Savings Proposals, Proposed Fees and Charges, Capital Programme Report and Summary and Proposed Capital Schemes.
The Borough Treasurer gave an update on changes to the budget since it was published on 10 December 2014. The Government had announced provision of Local Government Finance Settlement which would result in further loss of central government grant of £195,000. Current forecasts on collection funds showed a £100,000 surplus; the take up of the Council Tax Benefit Reduction Scheme had not been as high as anticipated. There had been savings in relation to waste as tonnages sent to landfill had been revised giving a saving of £260,000, and inflation had continued to fall giving a saving of £200,000 in the budget. There had been changes to the capital budget in relation to schools and the town centre.
The budget gap had fallen from approximately £4.7 million to approximately £4 million. Risks made forecasting more unpredictable, such as the introduction of the Care Act from April and variations in relation to older people and looked after children. There had been a legal ruling in relation to Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards which would pose a cost, and the planned closure of Coral Reef at some point during the year would mean a short term loss of revenue from this site.
There had been some minor changes to the capital budget which included uncertainty regarding schools. There was usually an allocation for schools maintenance of approximately £2 million but the Council had not been advised of this allocation yet, so could not include it in the budget at present. The consultation on the budget had been active for six weeks and there had been a limited but positive response so far.
In response to Members’ questions, the following points were made: