Issue - meetings
Budget Strategy 2018/19 - Risk Assessment
Mr Mark Green, Director of Finance and Business Improvement, introduced his report providing an update on the budget risks facing the Council.
It was noted that:
· The funding context had now been clarified by a Government announcement in December 2017 regarding the 2018/19 local government finance settlement. This confirmed that the settlement for next year would be in line with the previously announced four year settlement 2016/17 – 2019/20. The Secretary of State had also said that the Government would be looking at options for dealing with negative Revenue Support Grant (RSG), and since the Council was facing £1.6m of negative RSG in 2019/20, this was very welcome.
· In the light of higher than anticipated inflation, the Government was giving Councils the ability to increase Council Tax by an additional 1% without a local referendum. The Policy and Resources Committee would consider whether the Council should take advantage of this as part of the budget setting process for 2018/19.
· There had been indications that restrictions might be introduced on local authority borrowing following adverse publicity regarding substantial borrowing undertaken by a small minority of Councils. Recent Government consultations and announcements did not indicate a direct impact for the Council’s spending and prudential borrowing plans.
In response to questions by Members, Mr Green explained that:
· It had been announced that Kent and Medway would be a 100% Business Rates pilot area in 2018/19. This would provide a one-off additional amount of business rates income for the Council in 2018/19, provisionally estimated to be £640,000. The Policy and Resources Committee would consider proposals regarding the budget allocation of this amount at its next meeting. It was hoped that the benefits of pilot membership would continue in future years.
RESOLVED: That the updated risk assessment of the Budget Strategy, attached as Appendix A to the report of the Director of Finance and Business Improvement, be noted.