Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

Budget and Council Tax Setting 2018/19

Decision:

Noted that the Adult Social Care Precept for 2018/19 is set at 3%, as agreed by Council on 22 February 2017 (Section 5 of the report)

 

Agreed a council tax rise of 2.99% in support of homelessness and inflationary pressures, at a cost of 62p per week at Band D (Section 7 of the report)

 

Noted that the GLA precept for 2018/19 is due to increase by £14.21 per year at Band D, a rise of 5.1% (Section 7 of the report)

 

Noted that, subject to a detailed decision to be taken by the Leader, the Council will be participating in the London Business Rates Pilot Pooling Arrangements (Section 5 of the report)

 

Agreed the addition to the council tax in 2018/19 on the taxpayers in premises surrounding the garden in Gloucester Circus SE10 (Section 7 of the report)

 

Approved the overall council tax level and the relevant statutory calculations and resolutions (Section 7 and Appendix B of the report)

 

Noted the authority’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) is balanced through to 2019/20 and acknowledge that significant pressures are being experienced across services (Section 8 of the report)

 

Agreed the schools funding formula for use in 2018/19 and 2019/20 as presented to Schools Forum on 18 January 2018 (Section 9 of the report)

 

Noted the level of Dedicated Schools Grant for Education purposes and that the budget proposals for 2018/19 were agreed by the Schools Forum on 18 January 2018 (Section 9 of the report)

 

Noted that the Prudential Code requires the setting and revision of the indicators to be carried out by the body that takes decisions in respect of the Borough’s budget

 

Approved the Prudential Indicators (Section 10 and Appendix C of the report) for the period 2016/17 – 2020/21

 

Agreed that the indicators, other than the authorised borrowing limit, which must be set and revised by Council, are initially set each year by the authority as part of its budget setting process and are monitored and revised as appropriate during the year by Cabinet

 

Agreed the arrangements for determining the Minimum Revenue Provision (Section 10 and Appendix D of the report) from 2018/19 onwards

 

Noted the comments on financial standing, future risk and robustness of the budget process (Section 11 Appendix E of the report).

 

Noted the comments of the Cabinet on 21 February 2018.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, moved the recommendations. She noted that the Council had made budget efficiency savings which had been invested back into training, employment and service provision. 70% to 80% of the Council’s overspend was due to demand led pressures on child and adult social care and inflationary impact on contracts.  She advised that it was with reluctance that Adult Social Care Precept for 2018/19 was being set at 3%, with an additional council tax rise of 2.99% in support of homelessness and inflationary pressures.  She gave her sincere thanks and gratitude to all the Borough staff individually and collectively.

 

Council Hartley moved an amendment to the decision, as detailed in the published tabled item agenda.

 

In moving the amendment Council Hartley advised that the proposed amendment had been passed to the Leader of the Council, in advance of the meeting, and had been independently assessed as feasible and the proposed amendment would see exactly the same increase in Adult Social Care and Children’s Services funding and funding for homelessness as the Cabinet proposals with a 1.99% increase on the council tax on top of the 3% Social Care precept, as opposed to the proposed 2.99%.    He explained the proposed package of savings.

 

In seconding the amendment Councillor Elliott concurred that the proposal addressed the financial issues without further additional burden on the Borough’s residents. He added that whilst welcoming the identification that procurement savings were possible more needed to be done to buy in from suppliers within the local economy and support local employment.

 

Councillor Hyland did not accept the proposed amendment stating that the increase of 2.99% addressed the financial demands on the Council.  The Council would be adopting the 100% Council Tax support, as recommended by the Fairness Commission, in April 2019, which was as early as was possible. There was a legal requirement to produce statuary notices which the Greenwich Weekender met.  The facilitating of the trade unions paid for itself through collective bargaining, department reorganisations and saving cost related to employment tribunals.  Central Government was prescriptive as to the roles apprentices could be placed in but even with the restrictions several more placements were in the pipeline.  She continued that venues provided not only a location for essential staff training but also venues for social activities such as obesity awareness, physical activity classes and public health awareness sessions.  She questioned the fairness of asking residents to pay for other peoples rubbish collections.  She confirmed that the Council would look at social value for procurement in line with securing best value for the public purse.

 

Councillors Thorpe, C. Parker, J. Smith and Fahy, spoke against the proposed amendment.  It was noted that apprenticeships had fallen by 35% across the country.  The work of the trade unions avoided the use, by Council or staff, of using independent lawyers to resolve disagreements, which could take years and result in substantial expenditure.  A standing invitation for Councillor Hartley to visit the trade unions to see the work they undertook had still not been taken up.  External venues were used for public engagement and public health activities as well as staff training.  Procurement was important and the Council was looking to work with local providers from both a cost saving perspective but also to re-invest in the local economy.  The cost of publishing statutory notices would increase as a result of the Conservative proposals.  Bulk refuse collection was free for residents, but this still resulted in fly-tipping and those who fly-tip would not use collection services, even if free.   The Mayor Making ceremony marked the Borough’s First Citizen as well as bringing together members of voluntary groups and residents to meet the Mayor.

 

Councillor Hartley closed the debate on the Motion stating that local decision making was at the heart of the amendment which was a balanced budget, independently verified.  The amendment did not seek to stop staff training but did seek the ending of funding of venues.  It would not put Children or Adults Services in danger and was consistent with supporting vulnerable people in the Borough.

 

In line with the Local Government, England, Local Authorities Standing Orders regulations 2014, the Chief Executive called the formal vote on the proposed amendment, which were cast as follows;

 

Those Councillors in favour of the amendment; Brighty,Davis, Drury, Elliott, Hartley and Hills.

 

Those Councillors against the amendment; Ashikodi, Austen, Babatola, Barwick, Bird, Brain, Brooks, Cornforth, Fahy, Gardner, Grice, Hyland, M. James, R. James, Lekau, Lloyd, Mardner, Merrill, Morrow, C. Parker, G. Parker, Scott-McDonald, A. Smith, J. Smith, Stanley and Thorpe.

 

There were no Councillors in abstention.

 

The proposed amendment was lost.

 

Councillor Hyland, Leader of the Council, formally moved reception of the report.

 

Councillor Drury spoke on the substance of the main report and questioned the validity of the idea that the Council was a good custodian of the public purse given the recent redundancy payments to officers who were then re-employed, and that £1.5million was being paid to Corelli College of which £1 million was to transfer a piece of land the Council owned to them.

 

The Leader of the Council closed the debate explaining the situation behind the purchase of the two plots of land for Corelli College.

 

In line with the Local Government, England, Local Authorities Standing Orders Regulations 2014, the Chief Executive called the formal vote on the Budget and Council Tax 2018/19 decision required, which were cast as follows;

 

Those Councillors in favour; Ashikodi, Austen, Babatola, Barwick, Bird, Brain, Brooks, Cornforth, Fahy, Gardner, Grice, Hyland, M. James, R. James, Lekau, Lloyd, Mardner, Merrill, Morrow, C. Parker, G. Parker, Scott-McDonald, A. Smith, J. Smith, Stanley and Thorpe.

 

There were no Councillors against.

 

Those Councillors abstaining; Brighty,Davis, Drury, Elliott, Hartley and Hills.

 

Resolved –

 

That the Adult Social Care Precept for 2018/19 is set at 3%, as agreed by Council on 22 February 2017, as set out in Section 5 of the report, be agreed.

 

That a council tax rise of 2.99% in support of homelessness and inflationary pressures, at a cost of 62p per week at Band D, as set out in Section 7 of the report, be agreed.

 

That it be noted that the GLA precept for 2018/19 is due to increase by £14.21 per year at Band D, a rise of 5.1%, as set out in Section 7 of the report.

 

That it be noted that, subject to a detailed decision to be taken by the Leader, the Council will be participating in the London Business Rates Pilot Pooling Arrangements, as set out in Section 5 of the report.

 

That the addition to the council tax in 2018/19 on the taxpayers in premises surrounding the garden in Gloucester Circus SE10, as set out in Section 7 of the report, be agreed

 

That the overall council tax level and the relevant statutory calculations and resolutions, as set out in Section 7 and Appendix B of the report, and below, be approved;

 

B1   Note that, at the Council meeting on 31 January 2018, the borough calculated the following amounts for the year 2018/19, in accordance with regulations made under Section 31B(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended by the 2011 Localism Act:

 

(i)    80,180.58 being the amount calculated by the borough, in accordance with regulation 3 of the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) Regulations 2012, as its council tax base for the year.

 

(ii)   Gloucester Circus Special Expense Area – 94.25, being the amount calculated by the borough, in accordance with the regulations, as the additional amount of its council tax base for the year for dwellings in the part of its area to which the special item relates.

 

B2   Agree that the following amounts be now calculated by the borough for the year 2018/19 in accordance with Sections 31A, 31B and 34 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended by the 2011 Localism Act:

 

(i)    £830,024,410 being the aggregate of the amounts which the borough estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2)(a) to (f) of the Act

 

(ii)   £739,000,680 being the aggregate of the amounts which the borough estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3)(a) to (d) of the Act

 

(iii) £91,023,730 being the amount by which the aggregate at B2(i) above exceeds the aggregate at B2(ii) above, calculated by the borough, in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act, as its council tax requirement for the year

 

(iv) £1,135.23 being the amount at B2(iii) above all divided by the amount at B1(i) above, calculated by the borough, in accordance with Section 31B(1) of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year

 

(v)   £10,755.81 being the amount of all special items referred to in Section 34(1) of the Act

 

(vi) £1,135.10 being the amount at B2(iv) above, less the result given by dividing the amount at B2(v) above by the amount at B1(i) above, calculated by the borough in accordance with Section 34(2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of the area to which no special item relates

 

(vii) £1,249.22 being the amount given by adding the amount at B2(vi) above to the amount of the special item relating to dwellings in the Gloucester Circus special expense area divided by the amount at B1(ii) above, calculated by the borough, in accordance with Section 34(3) of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year for dwellings in the Gloucester Circus special expense area

 

(viii)The table below:

 

Valuation

Band

Gloucester Circus

Special Area

£

All other parts of

the Authority’s Area

£

A

832.81

756.73

B

971.62

882.86

C

1,110.42

1008.98

D

1,249.22

1,135.10

E

1,526.82

1,387.34

F

1,804.43

1,639.59

G

2,082.03

1,891.83

H

2,498.44

2,270.20

 

being the amounts given by multiplying the amounts at B2(vi) and B2(vii) above by the number which, in the proportion set out in Section 5(1) of the Act, is applicable to dwellings listed in a particular valuation band divided by the number which, in that proportion, is applicable to dwellings listed in valuation band D, calculated by the borough, in accordance with Section 36(1) of the Act, as the amounts to be taken into account for the year in respect of categories of dwellings listed in different valuation bands.

 

B3   Note that for the year 2018/19 the Greater London Authority has stated the following amounts in precept issued to the borough, in accordance with Section 40 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended by the 2011 Localism Act, for each of the categories of the dwellings shown below:

 

Valuation

Band

GLA

Amount

£

A

196.15

B

228.85

C

261.54

D

294.23

E

359.61

F

425.00

G

490.38

H

588.46

 

B4   Agree that, having calculated the aggregate in each case of the amounts at B2(viii) and B3 above, the borough, in accordance with Section 30(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended by the 2011 Localism Act, hereby sets the following amounts as the amounts of council tax for the year 2018/19 for each of the categories of dwellings shown below:

         

Valuation

Band

Gloucester Circus

Special Area

£

All other parts of

the Authority’s Area

£

A

1,028.96

952.88

B

1,200.47

1,111.71

C

1,371.96

1,270.52

D

1,543.45

1,429.33

E

1,886.43

1,746.95

F

2,229.43

2,064.59

G

2,572.41

2,382.21

H

3,086.90

2,858.66

 

B5   Agree that the Council determines that its relevant basic amount of council tax for the year 2018/19 is not excessive in accordance with the principles approved under sections 52ZC and 52ZD of the Local Government Finance Act 1992

 

B6   Agree that, in connection with authority to institute and conduct legal proceedings and decide on non-domestic rate relief:

 

(i)     authority be delegated to the Director of Finance, to carry out the following functions arising from powers contained in the Local Government Finance Act, 1988, the Local Government Finance Act, 1992 and any amendments thereto and Regulations passed pursuant to these Acts:

 

(a)  to administer the law relating to the administration, collection and enforcement (including but not exclusively instituting and/or conducting all necessary legal proceedings before a magistrates' court or any other court) in respect of the council tax, community charges and non-domestic rate and to sign any documents on behalf of the Council acting in its capacity as a billing / charging / rating authority

 

(b)in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Cabinet and the Leader of the Opposition, to receive and decide the outcome of applications seeking discretionary relief from non-domestic rates under Sections 47 and 48, Local Government Finance Act 1988, in accordance with borough guidelines

 

(c)  to authorise named officers under Section 223 of the Local Government Act, 1972 to prosecute or defend on behalf of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, or to appear on its behalf, in proceedings before a magistrates' court relating to the enforcement of the council tax, community charges and non-domestic rates

 

(ii)    the authority’s Director of Finance be authorised to take such action as is considered appropriate to ensure the effective and efficient recovery of council tax, community charges and non-domestic rates.

 

That the authority’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) is balanced through to 2019/20 and acknowledge that significant pressures are being experienced across services, as set out in Section 8 of the report, be noted.

 

That the schools funding formula for use in 2018/19 and 2019/20 as presented to Schools Forum on 18 January 2018, as set out in Section 9 of the report, be agreed.

 

That the level of Dedicated Schools Grant for Education purposes and that the budget proposals for 2018/19 were agreed by the Schools Forum on 18 January 2018, as set out in Section 9 of the report, be noted

 

That the Prudential Code requires the setting and revision of the indicators to be carried out by the body that takes decisions in respect of the Borough’s budget be noted.

 

That the Prudential Indicators, as set out in Section 10 and Appendix C of the report, for the period 2016/17 – 2020/21 be approved.

 

That the indicators, other than the authorised borrowing limit, which must be set and revised by Council, are initially set each year by the authority as part of its budget setting process and are monitored and revised as appropriate during the year by Cabinet, be agreed

 

That the arrangements for determining the Minimum Revenue Provision, as set out in Section 10 and Appendix D of the report, from 2018/19 onwards be agreed.

 

That the comments on financial standing, future risk and robustness of the budget process, as set out in Section 11 Appendix E of the report, be noted.

 

That the comments of the Cabinet on 21 February 2018 be noted.

 

Supporting documents: