The Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be pre-scrutinising this report at a meeting on 3rd January 2019. Should the Committee propose any recommendations on this subject the relevant extract from the minutes of that meeting will be published for the consideration of the Executive Committee in a supplementary pack.
The Executive Director, Finance and Resources provided Members with an update on the Medium Term Financial Plan and confirmed that the final report would be received at the February meeting, and go forward to Council for approval. It was a four year plan which contained a number of assumptions for future years. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had had the opportunity to pre-scrutinise the report at its meeting on 3rd January 2019. It was explained that a new approach had been taken this year in the planning and a table was included within the report which demonstrated the changes in the financial projections and budget gap for 2019/20 based on the original estimation of a £475k gap as presented in February 2018. This also included explanatory notes as to the reasons behind the changes, which resulted in the current gap of £496k. It was confirmed that since the report had been published this gap had further reduced. A number of areas were highlighted, including:
· Efficiency savings and unidentified pressures – these had been stripped out and only those which could be identified included.
· Additional pay and inflation – this included additional costs from the National Pay agreement and Joint Pay Scale, which Members had already discussed at this evening’s meeting.
· Negative Revenue Support Grant – this figure had originally been built in, however clarification had been received that this would not now be payable.
· Concern around the impact of changes to the New Homes Bonus scheme and the loss of funds in future years.
· Unavoidable costs and a number of small revenue bids. The majority of the capital bids referred to Section 106 funding.
The Portfolio Holder for Corporate Management thanked officers for their hard work and reiterated the need for the Council to look at working in different more innovative ways and was keen to ensure that savings were identified the unidentified savings no longer including within the figures provided. Discussions had been held with Central Government to raise concerns over future funding and lack of certainty moving forward. In the meantime the report set out the basis for delivering a balanced budget.
A number of areas were discussed by Members, including:
· The inclusion of the assumption that Model I would be the route taken in respect of the Joint Pay Scale model.
· The shortfall in respect of the revised fees and charges for the crematorium and associated charges would need to be met through other means.
· The reduction of £20k with the implementation of the new grants scheme format.
the issues and the medium term financial plan gap be noted and that officers continue to review the position to enable a balanced budget to be presented to Executive on 5th February 2019.