Issue - meetings

Budget & Council Tax 2020/21-2022/23

Meeting: 10/02/2020 - Cabinet (Item 7)

7 Budget & Council Tax 2020/21-2022/23 pdf icon PDF 222 KB

This report sets out the Council’s budget proposals for 2020/21 and business plans for 2021/22 and 2022/23.  It also sets out the results of the consultation, scrutiny and equalities processes.  Subject to approval by Cabinet, these will form the basis of the budget to be agreed at the Full Council meeting of 19 February 2020.


The report also sets out the overall financial position facing the Council for the medium term and highlights the significant risks, issues and uncertainties.

Additional documents:


NOTED the deputation received from Katie Barringer (Brent Trees) and additional comments made by Councillors Kelcher in summarising the key themes from the Budget Scrutiny Task Group report and Councillor Johnson.


RESOLVED that Cabinet:


(1)        Agree to recommend to Full Council an overall 3.99% increase in the Council’s element of council tax for 2020/21, with 2% as a precept for Adult Social Care and a 1.99% general increase.


(2)        Agree to recommend to Full Council the General Fund revenue budget for 2020/21, as summarised in Appendix A of the report.


(3)        Agree to recommend to Full Council the cost pressures and technical adjustments detailed in Appendix B of the report.


(4)        Agree to recommend to Full Council the savings detailed in Appendix C of the report.


(5)        To note the report from the Budget Scrutiny Panel in Appendix D of the report.  In addition, Cabinet agreed at the meeting to recommend to Council that any overall underspend across the General Fund accrued at the end of March 2020 be ringfenced and bought forward as proposals for spending on the climate change emergency.


(6)        To agree the HRA budget for 2020/21, as set out in section seven of the report.


(7)        To agree the HRA rents for council dwellings, tenant service charges and garages, as set out in section seven of the report.


(8)        To agree 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 seven of the report.


(9)        To note the Dedicated Schools Grant as set out in section eight of the report.


(10)    To note the advice of the Director of Legal, HR, Audit and Investigations as set out in Appendix E of the report.


(11)    To agree, and where relevant agree to recommend to Full Council, the schedule of fees and charges set out at in Appendix F of the report.


(12)    To note the results of consultation as set out in section six and detailed in Appendix G of the report.


(13)    Note and approve the specific recommendations to Full Council as detailed in section 2.13 – 2.29 of the report.


The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Margaret McLennan, introduced the report setting out the Council’s budget proposals for 2020/21 – 2022/23 along with a summary of the Council’s overall financial position in the medium term.


Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of the Council, welcomed Katie Barringer (Brent Trees) to the meeting who he advised had requested to speak in support of a proposal from the Budget Scrutiny Task Group regarding the use of savings accrued within Regeneration & Environment to support a programme of tree planting.  In addressing Cabinet, Katie Barringer highlighted the work being undertaken by the Council following its declaration of a climate emergency and the environmental, health and soci-economic benefits associated with trees and urged Cabinet to support the proposal made by the Task Group.


Councillor Matt Kelcher, Chair of the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee and Chair of the Budget Scrutiny Task Group, was then invited by the Leader to address Cabinet.  Acknowledging the difficult financial context within which the budget had needed to be set, he advised that the Task Group had sought to undertake a fair assessment of the proposals, offering comment and suggestions for consideration with their report included as an appendix to the main budget report.  The three main themes around which the Task Group had structured their review had been transparency & accountability; creativity & innovation and prudent use of resources, with the Task Group anticipating a full response on the recommendations made.  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 recommendations and a full response provided.


Additional comments were also received from Councillor Robert Johnson who expressed concern at the ongoing impact the Government’s programme of austerity was having on deprived and vulnerable communities across the borough along with the potential impact of the Fair Funding Review.


Councillor McLennan extended her thanks to officers and cabinet member colleagues for the hard work undertaken in producing the current budget proposals. She drew members’ attention to the recommendations detailed in the report, which included a proposed overall increase in Council Tax of 3.99% (including a 2% precept for Adult Social Care) and savings currently totalling £7.4m (as summarised in Appendix C(i) of the report).   In addition, the report included details of the budget and rent setting/service charge proposals relating to the Housing Revenue Account which, in line with the Government’s rent policy, included a recommended increase of CPI +1%.  Looking beyond 2020/21, Councillor McLennan ended her introduction by referring to the summary of budget proposals being developed from 2021 – 2023 themed around service transformation; making the Council’s money go further and income generation with the Council, she pointed out, seeking to maintain its proactive approach towards addressing the challenges faced.


In response to the comments raised in relation to trees and the environment, Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, felt it important to recognise the Council’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7