Issue - meetings
Medium Term Financial Strategy (Revenue and Capital) 2018-23
The Committee received a report on the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for the period 2018-23. It was reported that there was a statutory duty to set a balanced budget and to calculate the level of Council Tax for the district. It was also reported that the Chief Finance Officer (Head of Finance & Procurement) had a duty to ensure all figures provided for estimating and financial planning were robust and stand up to Audit scrutiny.
The Committee received a presentation from the Head of Finance & Procurement and he began by reporting to Members that the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2019/20 had been received and with the elements of the removal of the negative revenue support grant, additional New Homes Bonus, the successful application for a Business Rates pilot and additional grants, the budget would be balanced for 19/20 with a small transfer to General Reserves. It was reported that in terms of risk and uncertainty, both 18/19 and 19/20 were assessed as low but 2020/21 to 2022/23 were assessed as high because the Government was undertaking in 2020/21 major reviews of income streams related to Business Rates, Fair Funding and New Homes Bonus.
The Budget consultation was discussed and it was reported that there had been 340 responses received which was over double the amount from the 2017 consultation. It was reported that there was a legal duty to consult annually on the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy and Officers were still considering the most appropriate means to engage with Council Taxpayers. The Committee felt that it was a high level of response for a consultation and it was asked what value had been put on the responses received. It was reported that the percentage response rate for the district was 0.75% of the number of Council taxpayers and although taken into account, the consultation findings were not the only strand of evidence used when formulating the MTFS. The Committee felt that although the response rate was deemed low, it was high for a local level consultation and showed consistent themes when considered against other consultations
Post 2020 scenarios were given regarding Business Rates and New Homes Bonus and it was noted that NHB had been gradually removed from the base budget to be prepared for the risk of its reform or it ceasing. It was also reported that it had been assumed in financial modelling projections that Council Tax would be increased by the maximum amount allowable without a referendum each year.
The Capital Strategy was reported and it was noted that capital expenditure had slipped due because more time was needed to launch the Property Investment Strategy and, in particular to ensure there was sufficient capacity, appropriate expertise and firm governance arrangements being established. It was then reported that there could be an opportunity to borrow some of the required funds internally. It was reported that this would be a lower cost option, reduce investment risk because there would be lower investment levels and would allow ... view the full minutes text for item 30