Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Finance and Governance.
The Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Finance and Governance, Councillor Schofield, introduced the final revenue and capital budget proposals for 2021/22, which included a Council Tax increase of £5 for the average Band D property, for recommendation to Council; this being an increase of less than 10 pence per week for the average household.
The proposals were based on a full and robust assessment of the work of the Council and how services were funded. The assessment had been carried out by Executive members supported by the Management Team. The proposals had been reviewed by Members of the Budget Scrutiny Panel and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Councillor Schofield highlighted that:
· The Council had not received a revenue support grant from the Government for several years. This continued to present a short-term shortfall in income until regeneration and income generation projects become operational. Ring-fenced reserves had been established in recent years to respond to this challenge.
· Following significant budget growth for services in 2020/21 and the challenges of the global pandemic, 2021/22 would be a year of consolidation. Budget growth was modest and there was a reduction on the net budget requirement due to changes in how the Council managed Central expenses. This had put the Council in a strong position as it continued to plan for further challenges over the medium term.
· The Council held a healthy level of Reserves which would be available to help manage future budget risks and opportunities.
· The Council’s capital investment plans demonstrated the breadth of activity to improve and enhance the Council’s asset base. The capital growth proposals were modest but there had been significant investment in the Capital Programme last year.
The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Harrison, explained that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had met on 21 January to scrutinise the proposals. It was recognised that the current pressures would continue into 2021/22. The Committee were satisfied with the proposals and had no further comments to offer to the Executive.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Brunt, thanked Councillor Schofield and officers for their work on the proposals, and Councillor Harrison and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for their observations.
RECOMMENDED to Council:
1. The latest Medium-Term Financial Plan forecast at Annex 1
2. A Revenue budget requirement of £17.395 million for 2021/22, as set out in the report and at Annex 2 of the report, which reflects:
a. Service budget growth of £0.695 million (net); plus
b. Central budget savings of (£1.554) million (net)
3. An increase in Reigate & Banstead’s Band D Council Tax of £5.00 (2.15%) and a final taxbase of 60,720 Band D equivalents;
4. The forecast for Revenue Reserves (Annex 3) and the recommended use of £0.477 million from Reserves in 2021/22 comprising:
a. Drawing £0.104 million from the Government Funding Risks Reserve to fund reduced housing benefit subsidy; and
b. Drawing £0.138 million from the Commercial Risks Reserve to fund reduced income from rents and trading activities; and
c. Drawing £0.235 million from the General Fund Balance to support the 2020/21 Revenue Budget;
5. A Capital Programme of £81.555 million for 2021/22 to 2025/26 as set out in this report and at Annexes 4.1 and 4.2, including Capital Programme Growth Proposals of £1.326 million.
6. The Chief Finance Officer’s report on the robustness of the Budget estimates and adequacy of Reserves.
7. The Chief Finance Officer be authorised to make any necessary final technical adjustments to the Budget and Council Tax arising from final budget refinements or changes to Government funding.