Draft General Fund and Special Expenses Revenue Budget
- Meeting of Corporate Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 6th January, 2021 6.30 pm (Item 23.)
- View the declarations of interest for item 23.
Report of the Head of Finance
The Head of Finance presented the balanced budget proposals. She updated Members that further to the publication of the report additional funding had been announced via the draft local government finance settlement, early calculations expected the amount to be in the region of £700,000, which was very positive news for the authority.
Councillor N J Rushton, as Corporate Portfolio Holder, spoke in support of the report. He commented on the difficulties presented to the authority this year with running the budget and thanked the Head of Finance and her team for all the work undertaken, especially with the management of the grants given in response to the Covid-19 measures.
Councillor M B Wyatt made the following comments:
- The proposed additional funds for air quality monitoring was welcomed.
- Concerns were raised regarding the proposed increase in council tax for the Coalville special expense area, which equated to approximately eight percent. Councillor M B Wyatt was disappointed that more detail was not included and that nothing had been presented to the Coalville Special Expenses Working Party. It was explained that parish precepts increased across the district at varying levels and in monetary terms it was usually less than what it seemed in the percentage. It was agreed that more detail would be made available to Cllr Wyatt outside of the meeting for the proposed increase.
The following responses were given to questions from Councillor S Sheahan:
- A breakdown of the additional recharges to the Housing Revenue Account and Special Expenses to generate a saving to the General Fund of £78,000, to be provided outside of the meeting.
- Further information as to the reason for the proposed budget increase for the Pest Control Service be provided outside of the meeting.
- The assumption had been made that the £15,000 allocation for fly tipping surveillance cameras was ongoing, the Head of Finance would go back to the service area to confirm if it should be a one-off allocation only.
The following responses were given to questions from Councillor D Bigby:
- In relation to the reduction in car park income as detailed at table 1.15 of the appendix, it was agreed for further explanation to be provided by the service area outside of the meeting.
- In relation to the pay award freeze for staff, it was explained that it was a national policy position and that North West Leicestershire District Council were part of collective negotiations nationally on the matter. It was not a political decision taken locally.
- It was confirmed that the unspent balance of the climate emergency funding one-off allocation intended to be spent in the current financial year, would be carried forward to the next financial year. Funds so far had been spent on staffing and developing the working budget.
- The Head of Finance was confident that the Journey to Self Sufficiency proposals were achievable due to the good position of the Medium-Term Financial Strategy outlook. If a change was announced to the New Homes Bonus, then adjustments might have to be made.
The Chairman referred to the great work being undertaken by the volunteer litter collecting groups in the rural areas of the District, one of which calls themselves ‘The Litter Wombles’. He asked if Cabinet would consider providing some paid support for these groups as it would have a positive impact on the communities. The Corporate Portfolio Holder concurred with the Chairman and felt that some part-time support would really make a difference in the rural communities. He was happy to take the suggestion to Cabinet when it considered the budget proposals.
It was moved by Councillor J Hoult, seconded by Councillor G Hoult and by affirmation of the meeting it was
Comments made by the Committee be provided to Cabinet when it considers the report at its meeting on 2 February 2021.
Councillor M B Wyatt left the meeting during the discussion of the item.
Councillor N Smith left the meeting at the conclusion of the item.
- Draft General Fund and Special Expenses Revenue Budget Scrutiny Report, item 23. PDF 209 KB
- Appendix 1 - General Fund and Special Expenses Cabinet Report, item 23. PDF 927 KB