Report by Chief Executive
43.1 The Cabinet considered a report by the Chief Executive together with further information received following the publication of the Cabinet agenda including a summary of the consultation meeting held with Trade Unions
43.2 It was RESOLVED to:
1) i) agree the proposals recommended for implementation in Appendix 3a and 3b, subject to Council agreeing the budget limit for that particular item in Appendix 3; and
ii) delegate authority to the relevant Chief Officers to take any actions necessary to give effect to or in consequence of the above recommendation.
2) approve the fees and charges set out in Appendix 4 and delegate authority to the Chief Finance Officer to approve an increase to all other fees and charges by up to 2%;
3) recommend County Council to:
i) Approve in principle the draft Council Plan at Appendix 1 and authorise the Chief Executive to finalise the Plan in consultation with the relevant Lead Members;
ii) Increase the Council Tax, in line with the current Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) by 3.99% (2% of which relates to the Adult Social Care precept), and then issue precepts accordingly to be paid by Borough and District Councils in accordance with the agreed schedule of instalments at Appendix 5;
iii) Approve the net Revenue Budget estimates for 2016/17 set out in Appendix 2a;
iv) Approve the fees and charges set out in Appendix 4 and delegate authority to the Chief Finance Officer to approve an increase to all other fees and charges by up to 2%;
v) Approve the draft Capital Programme (see Appendix 2a) including further investment in essential programme need 2016/17 to 2017/18 as set out in Appendix 2a;
vi) Authorise the Chief Operating Officer, in consultation with the Chief Finance Officer, Leader and Deputy Leader, to make adjustments to the presentation of the budget to reflect the final settlement;
vii) Note the MTFP forecast for the period 2016/17 to 2018/19 as set out in Appendix 2a; and
viii) Note the comments from engagement exercises set out in Appendix 7.
4) endorse the letter to the Prime Minister set out in Appendix 8
43.3 The County Council is still projecting an overall deficit of at least £70m over 3 years. The proposed Medium Term Financial Plan provides a proposed budget which will give residents, businesses and partners a sustainable service offer during a period of significant change and uncertainty in local government and its financing. Identifying sustainable savings proposals for 2016/17 in order to deliver a balanced budget has been very challenging. The remaining two years of the current plan will be even more difficult as we need to bring forward significant additional savings in 2017/18, at the same time as demand will continue to grow. The County Council continues to be on track to deliver balanced budgets for the remaining two years of the MTFP. However, the significant policy changes that will take place over this period, particularly within Adult Social Care/Health integration and the removal of the County Council’s role in relation to schools, will mean that the current savings target of £70.2m is subject to uncertainty. The Council will continue to lobby the Government to ensure it both fully understands and recognises the impact of the financial constraints on residents and is persuaded to revisit the grant and National Non-Domestic Rate distribution for future years so they reflect local needs especially to more fairly recognise the real pressure on social care authorities. The Council will seek to ensure that the new financing arrangements reflect its needs, are accompanied by the flexibilities and freedoms that councils should have in order to manage their income sources; and to ensure that changes to policy and resourcing in areas such as schools apprentices are developed using a sound evidence base.