Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Michaela Gay  Email: michaela_gay@bathnes.gov.uk, 01225 394411

Media

Items
No. Item

34.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting, including the members present from the Climate Emergency and Sustainability PDS Panel and the Children, Adults, Health and Wellbeing PDS Panel who had been invited to participate in discussion on the Budget.

 

35.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE

The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.

 

36.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were none

37.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

 

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest, (as defined in Part 4.4 Appendix B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

 

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officeror a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were none.

38.

TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was none.

39.

ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC OR COUNCILLORS - TO RECEIVE STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE BUSINESS OF THIS MEETING

At the time of publication no notifications had been received.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

David Redgewell, Transport South West, made a statement to the Panel regarding the budget and the transport levy to the West of England mayoral combined transport Authority.

40.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 287 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.

41.

Budget and Council Tax 2023/24 and Financial Outlook pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Andy Rothery, Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer) and Councillor Richard Samuel, Cabinet Member for Resources introduced the report. Councillor Samuel set the context – he explained that since 2010 there had been a steady decline in external grants to Local Authorities. The Council would have more core funding if it were not for this decline, the Covid period and current inflation issues have added further stresses.

 

Andy Rothery gave a presentation to the Panel which covered the following:

 

·  Autumn Statement National Headlines

·  December Settlement Headlines

·  Budget Summary – demand and funding changes (5 years)

·  Cost pressures and assumptions included in the forecast

·  Budget Growth of £17.5m

·  Proposal regarding Council Tax and Social Care precept

·  Capital Programme 2023/24 to 2027/28

·  General Fund Un-Earmarked Reserve

 

 

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

 

Councillor MacFie asked the following questions (officer replies shown in italics):

·  Can we offer reductions in business rates (for a period, such as 2 years) as an introductory benefit and if so how is this done? The officer explained that smaller businesses (rateable value £15k or below) qualify for some relief. The scheme for retail/hospitality/leisure is also continuing into next year.

·  If we have some vacancies (not full employment) is there some money left over or do we budget for not having full employment? The officer explained that 2/3% vacancy factor is built into the base budget regarding staffing levels.

 

Councillor Furse asked the following questions (officer replies shown in italics):

 

·  Regarding recruitment, is it optimistic to assume a 2% salary increase going forwards? We recognise the risk that next year may be higher and have budgeted at 3% plus 1% contingency for 2023/24.

·  Regarding capital funding savings – with inflation and the increase in the cost of borrowing – will the savings be narrower? This has been factored in.

·  Regarding Council Tax banding, we have some high value properties, can we ask the Government about adding bands? Residents in lower bands have more burden. The Cabinet Member explained that the current bands were set in 1991. The Government has not brought them up to modern levels. The system is inherently unfair and not related to the income of the occupier. It is a regressive tax. All areas are affected by this.

·  Regarding managing risk, are the £12.6million reserves earmarked? The unearmarked reserve risk is separate from earmarked reserves.

 

 

Councillor Hodge asked the following questions (officer replies shown in italics):

 

·  Regarding the level of savings we have to find this year, has the risk been quantified. Is the proportion of cost reduction against income similar to previous years? The proportions are similar although slightly higher on income. The Cabinet Member further explained that the income that comes from the Commercial Estate, Heritage and Car Parking is not limitless, they cannot be constantly increased so we have to look at other sectors for efficiencies for example being tougher on arrears.

·  Amber/Green risks – The risks have been assessed, there is 10% contingency against savings.

·  Is the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Cabinet Member update

The Cabinet Member will update the Panel on any relevant issues. Panel members may ask questions on the update provided.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Richard Samuel updated the Panel on the following:

 

·  There is a developing position on supported bus funding. This issue came to us in late December, budget preparation starts in July so colleagues have worked very hard to minimize disturbance to the bus services. It is difficult to find extra support at such a late stage in the budget process but we have been able to create some stability.

43.

Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 159 KB

This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel. Any suggestions for further items or amendments to the current programme will be logged and scheduled in consultation with the Panel’s Chair and supporting officers.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel noted the future workplan. It was noted that the item on Aequus had been moved from 30th January 2023 to 13 March 2023.