Issue - meetings

Council Fund Budget 2018/19 – Third and Closing Stage

Meeting: 20/02/2018 - Flintshire County Council (Item 98)

98 Council Fund Budget 2018/19 – Third and Closing Stage pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Additional documents:


(a)       That following a review, £1.927m of reserves and balances is released to contribute to balancing the budget;


(b)       That a 5% rise in Council Tax is set to balance the budget in combination with reserves and balances in (a) above;


(c)        That a further rise in Council Tax of 1.71% is set to provide additionality of £1.140m specifically for schools budgets;


(d)       That a report be made to the next meeting with an update on any additional one-off funding to be received from Welsh Government late in this financial year, with advice on how an improved out-turn position in 2018/19 could be used to further increase the funding for schools in 2019/20; and


(e)       To note that the £18K pressure for providing discretionary top-up relief, as agreed by Cabinet, be built into the budget for 2018/19.


The Chief Executive introduced the report to provide the recommendations of Cabinet for the Council Fund Revenue Budget 2018/19 - Third and Closing Stage, copies of which had been circulated.


The Chief Executive and Corporate Finance Manager gave a joint presentation covering the following areas.  The Chief Officer (Governance) also contributed:


·         Review of budget process for future years: Constitution Committee

·         Setting a legal and balanced budget

·         National positions on Local Government

·         Local Government national position

·         Through innovation - £79m efficiencies over 10 years

·         Big things we have achieved

·         Council resilience

·         Local position

·         Budget Stage One - portfolio business plans

·         Budget Stage Two - secondary/corporate proposals

·         Budget Stage Three - closing and balancing the budget

·         Professional opinions

·         Future outlook

·         Next steps


The valuable input by all Members throughout the budget process would continue as part of consultation on a review of the future budget process.  The phased budget process had enabled early planning and implementation of proposals.  Taking a higher level of risk was acknowledged as a characteristic of budget setting in times of severe financial restraint.  As an unresolved issue, options for increased public car parking charges still to be considered by Cabinet would need to meet a £0.450m additional income target if the budget as presented were to be approved.  On the cases made by the Council at national level, there were ongoing discussions with Welsh Government (WG) on the requests for local flexibility on domiciliary care charges and the retention of a share of Apprentice Tax Levy.


The review of reserves had been rigorous due to the financial situation and the interest of the Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee.  The outcome of the review, which had been circulated, provided details of each reserve and identified nearly £2m of reserves which could be released to assist in balancing the 2018/19 budget.  A reminder was given that reserves could only be used once and that, if they were to be drawn upon for the 2018/19 budget, then there would be a cost pressure on an equal amount to be met from 2019/20.


In moving the recommendations, Councillor Aaron Shotton thanked the Chief Executive, the Corporate Finance Manager and all those involved in working on the budget in the context of reduced government grant and increased demand and other costs for services.  Whilst the budget gap could be met wholly by a Council Tax increase of over 8%, the recommendation from Cabinet was to use £1.927m of reserves and balances with a 5% increase in Council Tax to firstly balance the budget.   In recognition of the concerns raised amongst the schools community, the public and Members, Cabinet recommended a further increase in Council Tax of 1.71% (taking the rise in total to 6.71%) to provide an additional £1.140m for schools’ delegated budgets.  Councillor Shotton commended the additional investment to meet pressures in social care, and the involvement and support of the Overview & Scrutiny committees throughout the process.  Widespread recognition that service options had been exhausted had led to challenge on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 98