Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy & Corporate Plan Update

This report was considered by the Cabinet at their 12th September 2019 meeting. It presents the future years Medium Term Financial Strategy and emerging Corporate Plan.


Councillor Richard Samuel introduced this report to the Panel. He said that one of the main tasks in the coming months was shaping our manifesto commitments into a new corporate plan for the Council and that work is underway to cost these commitments.


He stated that any help the Panel can provide as part of this process will be welcome.


He said that in terms of capital we need to ensure that the Council can afford to run the same level of capital programme as in the past. He explained that capital projects are funded either by use of external grant, receipts from asset sales, or by borrowing and that the latter has a direct implication for revenue spending.


He informed the Panel that a review of all current capital schemes will be carried out to assess their desirability and affordability, and prioritise those that meet our stated corporate priorities.


He stated that the 100% business rate retention scheme was set to continue instead of a proposed 75% retention scheme and that this would benefit the Council by £3.6m.


The Head of Management Accounts said that prudent projections have been made within the MTFS and that the majority of grant funding is only applicable to one year


Councillor Winston Duguid said that he could see that an emphasis had been made within the documents on savings, but said that he would like to see more detail on possible income streams. He asked if any thoughts had been given on a possible ‘Tourist Tax’, regulations relating to AirBnB or the Council’s relationship with the universities.


Councillor Samuel replied that national legislation is required to introduce a ‘Tourism Levy’ and was aware that other Local Authorities across the country were considering this, in particular Edinburgh City Council. He added that the Government has currently ruled out such measures being introduced.


He said that the universities do contribute towards an annual clear up across the City, but of course there is the fact that the Council has an exemption scheme for students in relation to paying Council Tax.


Councillor Andrew Furse commented that it was important for the Council to have enough incoming funds to pay off capital. He said that the Council must be careful in terms of borrowing despite the current low interest rates. He added that he queried the re-phasing decision in relation to Bath Quays.


Councillor Samuel replied that the intention is to take a measured approach between borrowing in the current market climate and the utilisation of internal cash flow wherever possible. He acknowledged that income to the Council was not always sufficient.


The Chair stated that all members of the Council were accountable through the budget setting process and that public services need maintaining as well as providing residents and visitors with experiences across the authority.


Councillor Furse stated it was important for the Council to communicate its proposals and decisions with the public. He asked what impact the Joint Spatial Strategy will have on the MTFS.


The Head of Management Accounts replied that in terms of Council Tax it was complicated to model future years projections, however current performance on the collection fund is improving year on year in line with each years budget projection. He added that there is a risk to the Council if the building of homes or development of businesses slows down and that these factors are closely monitored.


The Panel RESOLVED to note the Medium Term Financial Strategy & Corporate Plan Update.

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