Issue - meetings

Budget and Council Tax 2019/20 – 2020/21

Meeting: 11/02/2019 - Cabinet (Item 9)

9 Budget and Council Tax 2019/20 – 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 359 KB

The purpose of this report is to set out the Council’s budget proposals for 2019/20 and business plans for 2020/21.  It also sets out the results of the consultation, scrutiny and equalities processes.  Subject to consideration and approval by Cabinet the report and recommendations agreed will form the basis of the budget to be agreed at the Full Council meeting of 25 February 2019.  The report also sets out the overall financial position facing the Council for the next four years and highlights the significant risks, issues and uncertainties.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that:

 

i)             Cabinet agreed to recommend to full council an overall 4.99% increase in the Council’s element of council tax for 2019/20 with 2% as a precept for Adult Social Care and a 2.99% general increase.

 

ii)            Cabinet agreed to recommend to full council the General Fund revenue budget for 2019/20, as summarised in Appendix A to the report from the Chief Finance Officer.

 

iii)          Cabinet noted the cost pressures and technical adjustments detailed in Appendix B to the report from the Chief Finance Officer.

 

iv)          Cabinet noted the savings detailed in Appendix C to the report from the Chief Finance Officer.

 

v)            Cabinet delegated authority to the Chief Finance Officer to:

 

a)        agree(in consultationwiththe Leader)whether toparticipatein theLondonBusinessRatesPool andpilotsfor subsequentyears(notingthat inthis casetheauthority’sexecutiveadministrativefunctionas abillingauthoritypursuanttothe Non-DomesticRating (RatesRetention)Regulations 2013willremain delegatedto theCityofLondonCorporation, asthe LeadAuthority);and


b)        agreethe operational  details ofthepoolingarrangementswiththe participatingauthoritiesfor 2019/20andanysubsequentyearsand enterinto anyMemorandum ofUnderstandingrequired.

 

vi)          Cabinet agreed that the Leader of the Council would continue to represent the authority in relation to consultations regarding the London Business Rates Pilot Pool undertaken by the Lead Authority pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding and he would respond to the consultations.

 

vii)         Cabinet noted the report of the Budget Scrutiny Panel provided at Appendix D to the report from the Chief Finance Officer.

 

viii)        Cabinet agreed to set the HRA budget for 2019/20, as set out in section eight of the report from the Chief Finance Officer.

 

ix)          Cabinet agreed to set the HRA rents for council dwellings, tenant service charges and garages, as set out in section eight of the report from the Chief Finance Officer.

 

x)            Cabinet agreed to set the major works and new build development budgets set for 2019/20 and 2020/21, as set out in section eight of this report.

 

xi)          Cabinet agreed to set the rents set under the Housing General Fund for Brent Housing PFI and traveller’s site pitches and to note the rents for Hillside dwellings as set out in section eight of this report.

 

xii)         Cabinet noted the Dedicated Schools Grant as set out in section nine of the report from the Chief Finance Officer.

 

xiii)        Cabinet agreed to recommend to full council the capital programme as set out in Appendix E to the report from the Chief Finance Officer

 

xiv)        Cabinet agreed to recommend to full council the Treasury Management Strategy, Capital Strategy, Investment Strategy and MRP Policy as set out in Appendices F, G, H and I to the report from the Chief Finance Officer.

 

xv)         Cabinet noted the advice of the Director of Legal and HR as set out in Appendix J to the report from the Chief Finance Officer.

 

xvi)        Cabinet agreed to agreed, and where relevant  ...  view the full decision text for item 9

Minutes:

At the invitation of the Chair, Councillor Matt Kelcher, Chair of the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee and Chair of the Budget Scrutiny Panel, addressed the Cabinet. He acknowledged the difficult financial context and explained that the Budget Scrutiny Panel had sought to undertake a fair assessment of the proposals, offering comment and suggestions for consideration by the Cabinet.  He welcomed the adoption of some of the Panel’s suggestions and emphasised that scrutiny members wished to receive a full response to those recommendations of the Budget Scrutiny Panel not adopted. Councillor Margaret McLennan, Deputy Leader of the Council, expressed her thanks to scrutiny members for their contribution to the proposals before the Cabinet and confirmed that consideration would be given to the remaining suggestions and a response provided.

 

Councillor McLennan subsequently extended her thanks to officers and cabinet member colleagues for the hard work undertaken in producing the current budget proposals, noting that consultation on the budget had commenced in August 2018. She drew members’ attention to the recommendations detailed in the report and to Table 1 in Appendix C (i), which set out the savings proposals identified to be taken forward. The proposals that would not be taken forward were set out in Table 2 of the same appendix. 

 

Councillor Ellie Southwood, Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, endorsed the budget proposals and reflected on the budget setting process. She praised the input of Brent’s residents in helping to identify the services important to them and lauded the creativity and innovation of officers in helping to find new ways to deliver services. The importance of focusing on those areas where the council could exert leverage, such as council home building, was highlighted. 

 

Councillor Shama Tatler, Lead Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning, echoed the sentiments already expressed, stating that though the Government had announced an end to the policy of Austerity, this was not extended to local government nor reflected in the fair funding review. She highlighted that there would be a £20million capital spend over the next four years to improve Brent’s highways infrastructure.

 

Councillor Mili Patel, Lead Member for Children’s Safeguarding, Early Help and Social Care, stated that the Children and Young People department was faced with increasing demand on services and diminishing budgets. Highlighting the excellent work of the department despite these challenges, Councillor Patel cited work around Family Hubs, Early Intervention and innovative work with care leavers. She emphasised that it had been heartening to see that Children’s Services had been identified by Brent’s residents as one of the priorities that should be protected.

 

Councillor Krupesh Hirani, Lead Member for Public Health, Culture and Leisure, advised that some of the recommended budget proposals related to a public health grant received from Public Health England (PHE). The council had consulted PHE on the budget proposals and they had responded, welcoming the creation of Family Hubs and the associated integration of services,  as well as the use of the Maternal Early  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9


Meeting: 07/02/2019 - Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee (Item 10)

10 Budget proposals pdf icon PDF 91 KB

The Budget Scrutiny Panel reviewed the Cabinet’s draft Budget proposals published in October 2018 and produced a report setting outs its recommendations. The Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee considered and endorsed the Panel’s recommendations at its meeting on 15 January 2019. The Committee will now consider the final Budget proposals,  which are then due to be considered by the Cabinet at its meeting on 11 February 2019.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee reviewed the council’s budget proposals for 2019/20 and 2020/21 which were due to be considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 11 February 2019. The committee had considered a previous iteration of the budget proposals at its meeting on 15 January 2019, when it had reviewed and endorsed the report of the Budget Scrutiny Panel. The Chair highlighted that the views of the committee, along with the recommendations of the Budget Scrutiny Panel, had informed the current version before members. In particular, the Chair welcomed the adoption of the a number of key recommendations of the Budget Scrutiny Panel including rejection of the proposals to reduce library opening hours and rejection of the closure of Abbey Road, Brent Reuse and Recycling Facility. There remained however, a number of areas where further feedback would need to be sought from Cabinet. 

 

It was noted that the Budget report set out details of the consultation, scrutiny and equalities processes undertaken with regard to the proposals and revealed the overall financial position facing the council over the following four year period, including risks, issues and uncertainties. The Chair informed the committee that Councillor McLennan (Deputy Leader) and Ravinder Jassar (Head of Finance) were present to address members’ queries.

 

In the subsequent discussion, the committee noted that there was a history of certain departments overspending and underspending, and assurance was sought that this was appropriately accounted for when setting the budgets for these departments. Members questioned whether consultation via Brent Connects was productive and queried whether the council could do anything to attract a greater level of engagement, including reviewing the accessibility of locations. Clarification was sought on how the anticipated additional licensing income from events held at Wembley Stadium would be distributed and whether consideration had been given to compensating the residents most affected by the events. A member suggested that improved public transport signage and indicators would be beneficial to the borough. Highlighting the committee’s suggestion made at its last meeting that consideration be given to developing a more strategic and co-ordinated approach to Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds, the committee questioned how this could be considered as part of the budget formulation process. Assurance was sought that the £600k ‘pothole’ fund provided by Central Government would be used solely for the repair of the Brent’s roads. The committee questioned whether the council was consulted about the increase in the Mayor’s precept and the impact that this increase was likely to have on Brent’s residents. Members queried who would be affected by the reduction in council tax support, proposed for 2020/21, and sought details of the council’s policy with regard to using bailiffs to collect unpaid council tax.

 

In response to the questions raised, Ravinder Jassar confirmed that the budgets were correctly set at the start of the year. The departmental overspend for Children and Young People was borne of an increase in the numbers of Looked After Children and children subject to child protection plans. The underspend for Regeneration  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10