Issue - meetings

Budget and Council Tax 2018/19 and Financial Outlook

Meeting: 13/02/2018 - Council (Item 72)


This report presents the revenue and capital budgets for 2018/19 together with proposals for Council Tax and Adult Social Care Precept for 2018/19.


Report is subject to final confirmation of the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2018/19 which is expected to be announced shortly.


Additional documents:


The Council considered a report presenting the Cabinet’s revenue and capital budgets for the 2018/19 financial year together with proposals for Council Tax and Adult Social Care Precept for 2018/19.


In addition to the reports circulated with the agenda, all Councillors had received a copy of the draft minute of the Resources Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 5th February with the Panel’s comments on the budget proposals.  Councillors also received Annex 10 – Formal Council Tax Setting resolutions (incorporating precepts from Parishes, Fire and Police), plus a set of revised recommendations and an updated Annex 1 (Individual Service Cash Limits) incorporating changes from Cabinet on 7th February.


On a motion from Councillor Tim Warren, seconded by Councillor Steve Hedges, it was RESOLVED that the Council suspends Council rule 42, Content and Length of Speeches, for the duration of this debate so as to enable variations to be permitted to the length of speeches by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Independent Group Leaders or their nominated Spokespersons, and the Chair of the Resources Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel.


On a motion from Councillor Gerrish, seconded by Councillor Tim Warren, it was




1.  that the Council approves


a.  The General Fund net revenue budget for 2018/19 of £113.271m and the individual service cash limits for 2018/19 as outlined in Annex 1;


b.  The savings and income generation plans outlined in Annex 2 in conjunction with the Equalities Impact Assessment Report in Annex 3 and thereby agrees to implement the Council’s draft Operational Plan which has been presented to each of the relevant PDS Panels;


c.  That the agreement of a revised TDC (Thermae Spa) Profit Share arrangement is delegated to the Chief Executive  in consultation with the S151 Officer and Leader, with appropriate independent legal advice obtained, and on the basis this will generate a simpler approach and better return for the Council, but that any associated extension of the lease is subject to a separate executive decision;


d.  To help protect front line services and meet additional pressures in Children’s Services the budget includes a recommendation that Council Tax is increased by 1.95% in 2018/19 (an increase of £25.04 per Band D).


e.  An increase of 3% to Council Tax for the Adult Social Care Precept is approved in recognition of the current demands and financial pressures on this service. This is equivalent to an increase of £38.52 on a Band D property.


f.  That the release of reserves, including the Invest to Save Reserve is delegated to the Council’s S151 Officer in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency and the Chief Executive.


g.  The transfers between reserves outlined in 5.5.1 and the adequacy of Un-earmarked Reserves at £12.2m within a risk assessed range requirement of £11.9m-£13.1m.


h.  The Efficiency Strategy attached at Annex 4 and delegation of the Leading Together Change Programme funding of £2.0m to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72


Meeting: 07/02/2018 - Cabinet (Item 181)

181 Budget and Council Tax 2018/19 and Financial Outlook pdf icon PDF 423 KB

This report presents the revenue and capital budgets for 2018/19 together with proposals for Council Tax and Adult Social Care Precept for 2018/19.


Additional documents:


Councillor Dine Romero made an ad-hoc statement where she expressed concerns from the Liberal Democrat group that the Cabinet did not recognise what was important when setting the Budget proposals.  Councillor Romero felt that services around improving chances for children and young people, helping vulnerable and keeping people healthy and safe would be lost because the Cabinet had spent money on other projects such as Park and Ride, Bath Library and the Metro Mayor.  Councillor Romero concluded that the Council should not cut from children and library services.


Councillor Paul Crossley made an ad-hoc statement where he suggested that decision to cut from Grand Parade and Undercroft funding was a bad decision and also that £4.273m allocated funding for West of England Combined Authority should be scrapped.


Councillor Joe Rayment made an ad-hoc statement where he welcomed proposed amendment in wording for recommendation 2.1.c. However, Councillor Rayment felt that Members of the Council could not see the complex formulae used to calculate the lease and felt that the Council would get better return in short term but not in the long term.  Councillor Rayment also felt that it was not democratic that some of the recommendations were delegated to the Chief Executive and not to the Cabinet or Single Members.


Councillor Robin Moss made a statement where he said that Labour group would give their comments and ask questions at the Full Council meeting on 13th February 2018.  Nevertheless, Councillor Moss said that he was concerned with only 4.95% increase in Council Tax when the Council could set an increase to 6%.  Councillor Moss asked if the discussion between the Council and Government would be available for inspection, why the Council would not consider in-house provision of Adult Social care and how cuts in essential services to most vulnerable would have detrimental impact on services users in long term.


Councillor Eleanor Jackson made an ad-hoc statement by expressing her concerns on youth programme provision.  Councillor Jackson also said that according to a survey from few years ago 75%of young people wanted to stay in the area, though the latest survey had suggested that the same percentage now want to leave the area down to a lack of affordable housing.  Councillor Jackson asked the Cabinet if they could use their powers to increase affordable housing in the area.


Councillor Charles Gerrish responded to Budget issues raised by Councillors.  Councillor Gerrish said that Grand Parade matter went to Scrutiny before the Cabinet made its final decision and unfortunately the business case for this project did not stack up.  The Council had to balance an increase in Council Tax rates and 4.95% increase had been seen as the most appropriate.  In terms of the social care – the voluntary sector had shown readiness to work with the Council to provide services for those in greatest need.  The Council would be working with the YMCA in terms of provision of affordable housing for young people.  Some issues that had been raised at the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 181


Meeting: 05/02/2018 - Resources Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel (Item 53)

53 Budget and Council Tax 2018/19 and Financial Outlook pdf icon PDF 73 KB

This report provides this PDS Panel with recommendations and context to enable it to consider the separately published draft Council budget.


Additional documents:


The Strategic Director for Resources, Andrew Pate introduced the report, he explained that the Panel should take an overview across the Council and pointed to the recommendations on page 5 of the agenda papers. Donna Parham, Divisional Director for Business Support (Director of Finance) gave a detailed explanation of the tables contained within the report.


Panel members made the following points and asked the following questions:


Councillor O’Brien pointed to the shortfalls in achieving the budget targets in the current year and asked what was in place to rigorously monitor this in the future. The Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Charles Gerrish explained that a very thorough piece of work had taken place which has resulted in the rebasing of the figures for 2018/19, an example was the total rebasing of the HR budget. In previous years it had been easier to compensate from other budgets but that flexibility no longer existed. He further explained that the Cabinet will require routine monitoring of all services particularly where there is a high spend or risk, there will also be reporting by exception. The Strategic Director added that the HR review and restructure had corrected a legacy budget issue.


Councillor Furse asked about the £3.4m over budget and the Cabinet Member explained that this was the figure at the end of December, it is the net figure.


Councillor Rayment asked the following questions:


1) The profit share agreement for the Thermae Spa, and any possible lease extension agreement, is proposed to be delegated to the Chief Executive. Will there be any further opportunity for this to undergo democratic scrutiny, and what form would that take? (e.g. will this be open to call-in?)


3) The release of Leading Change Together Programme funding is proposed to be delegated to the Chief Executive. As this funding will facilitate a significant restructure of the Council and the loss of 300 FTE staff posts, will there be any further opportunity for this to undergo democratic scrutiny, and what form would that take? (e.g. will this be open to call-in?)


4) How do the Cabinet define the various terms used to describe the services that will be unaffected by the reduction in staff numbers? (i.e. ‘front line services’, ‘key front line services’, ‘critical services’ and ‘critical functions and services for vulnerable people’)


5) Has the Cabinet had any assurance from the Government that failure to utilise fully the permitted Council Tax rise of 3% (without referendum) will not impact negatively on any of the Cabinet’s proposals for how to raise further revenue (e.g. a ‘tourist tax’) which require Government policy changes?


6) The papers identify ‘changes to Government policy that affects future funding’ as a likely risk with a potentially high impact. What information has been used to inform this?


The Cabinet Member stated that he would respond in more detail to some of these questions after the meeting. Regarding questions 5 the Cabinet Member explained that there have been recent discussions with Government around  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53