As we look to 2018/19, it is the strategic themes in the Corporate Plan that have informed the budget setting process.
Our strategic themes are:
• Enabling Communities
• Delivering Sustainable Growth
• Becoming a More Efficient and Effective Council
Delivering value for money clearly underpins everything we do and reflects the challenging financial climate for local government. Our strategy is to make the best use of our available resources to produce the best outcomes for the District over a longer time-frame than just the setting of next year’s budget.
In October 2016 the Council published a four year efficiency plan (2017/18 to 2020/21) and subsequently received confirmation that it would receive a four year settlement.
The plan sets out the Council’s strategies for reducing the budget gap of £3.6m over the next four years by:
• Increasing income where it can, primarily through its Commercial Investment Strategy but also through Council Tax increases that are lower than the rate of either wage or pension growth experienced by our residents,
• Further efficiencies to reduce expenditure,
• A major transformation programme in the way we deliver services.
Through our efficiency plan we believe that we can secure both a material reduction in its budget gap whilst improving the customer service experience. However to achieve a sustainable financial position, it is likely that the Council will have to close a gap of approximately £1.4m in income vs expenditure over the next four years. This may require some difficult decisions, which we want to approach strategically before the savings need to be realised.
As key partners in the economic and social health of our District, your feedback is essential. I would greatly appreciate you taking a few moments to complete our online survey.
Cllr Jonathan Gray
Executive Councillor for Resources
Where the money comes from
1. New Homes Bonus
Last year the Government significantly altered the New Homes Bonus scheme and reduced the funding available. The Council’s MTFS has already built in anticipated reductions in the NHB and therefore this has had a limited impact. The Council has removed all reliance on NHB from 2019/20. It is currently estimated for 2018/19 the NHB will be £2.7m.
2. Revenue Support Grant
For 2018/19 the Council has estimated that Revenue Support Grant (RSG) will be £0.604m and Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) will be £5.961m. However, the Government has announced that the RSG will cease by 2019/20 as it moves Local Government to a position of being entirely funded from local tax sources, i.e. Council Tax, Business Rates and Fees & Charges.
3. Council Tax
The Council are reviewing Council tax increases as part of the Budget setting process and are considering some optionsincluding:
- 0% increase
- 2% increase for the period 2017/18 to 2021/22
- Government rules for 2018/19 Council Tax would allow the Council to increase Council Tax by a maximum of £5.