To consider the head of finance’s report (to follow).
Cabinet considered the interim head of finance’s report on the revenue budget 2020/21 and the capital programme to 2024/25.
In preparing the budget, Cabinet was unable to increase council tax beyond £5 per Band D property, and had to use reserves to balance its budget. Cabinet expressed concern at being unable to plan long term as it did not know what, if anything, would be replacing the New Homes Bonus government grant.
The Cabinet member for finance reported that before Cabinet considered the budget and recommended it to Council, Scrutiny Committee should be asked for its views on the budget as a whole. The budget proposal included the creation of a transformation budget to investigate revenue income generation options during 2020/21. The proposals also included £106,000 for the climate emergency year one work programme. Car parking fees and charges would remain the same, pending a review.
Cabinet discussed the grants budget and agreed to consult Scrutiny Committee on whether the budget for councillor grants should be reduced by 50 per cent from £180,000 to £90,000. However, the council would keep the cost base unchanged and use the officer capacity to help communities find other income sources.
The Chair reported that Cabinet would meet again on 11 February to consider Scrutiny Committee’s comments, before recommending the budget to Council.
(a) that Cabinet is minded to adopt recommendation 1 and minded to recommend Council to adopt recommendation 2, as set out in the interim head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 30 January 2020, subject to a reduction from £500,000 to £410,000 in recommendation 2(e) by halving the councillor grants budget from £180,000 to £90,000;
(b) that Cabinet invites Scrutiny Committee’s comments on (a) above; and
(c) that Cabinet reconsiders the interim head of finance’s budget report at a Cabinet meeting on 11 February 2020 at 9.30am and makes recommendations to Council on 13 February 2020.