Agenda item

Agenda item

Draft Budget and Housing Revenue Account 2015/16, MTFP 2014/18


To consider the draft Budget and Housing Revenue Account, updated Medium Term Financial Plan and Capital Programme pertaining to the Council’s Budget proposals and specifically the Improvement and Corporate ServicesDirectorate.  Information that is relevant to the other directorates will also be considered in the other relevant OSC meetings.  Members are requested to submit their comments, observations and recommendations in respect of the Executive’s proposals to the meeting of the Executive on 10 February 2015.


Papers relating to these items were circulated to Members in the Executive agenda for 13 January 2015 (Items 8, 9 and 10 refer).  Members are requested to bring their copies of the Executive report with them to the meeting (hard copies will not be provided).  The report is available to view and print at the following website:-




Due to the pecuniary interests of Cllr Dr Egan it was deemed appropriate to consider the Revenue and Capital items together with HRA as a single, separate item.


The Executive Member for Corporate Resources provided details of total spending for the Council along with identified efficiency savings and delivered a presentation outlining the three main areas of spend:

·           Revenue Budget

·           Capital Programme

·           Housing Revenue Account


In light of the presentation and the Executive report, Members discussed concerns regarding reduced funding for education and how the shortfall would be addressed along with perceived cuts to customer services and front line services.


The Executive Member responded to these queries by explaining that although there was a highlighted shortfall in one aspect of educational funding, the budget presented had to be balanced and so this had been mitigated by ensuring all areas were funded. The Chief Finance Officer explained that the part of the educational grant reflecting a shortfall related to the school support grant, the overall grant paid directly to schools, per capita had increased.


The Director for Improvement and Corporate Services responded that there was not a cut in Customer Services but there had been a previous plan to work alongside the Job Centre Plus and combine certain services. This had not been possible due to certain constraints and so there was a delay in Customer Service staff delivering on this, therefore detailed within the report was a delay in efficiency savings.


The Executive Member also responded to a query regarding timescales for Parking Bays to be granted by explaining that due to required changes on the Highway, there could be lengthy timescales involved when dealing with this issue.


The Chief Finance Officer introduced the Capital Programme and explained that the Annuity method used effectively matched depreciation against asset lives.


In response to a query the Executive Member for Corporate Resources explained the difference between the gross and net expenditure listed.

Concerns were raised by a Member of the Committee that regeneration schemes in Houghton Regis and Dunstable, whilst welcome, meant that housing could still be unaffordable for those who currently lived there and asked that the Executive consider this as a potential issue.


Due to the nature of her pecuniary interest Cllr Egan spoke as a member of the public and raised concerns that the proposed rent increase of 2.2% would penalise the poorest residents within Central Bedfordshire as Sheltered Housing residents were already in the higher percentile with regards to rent increases. Cllr Egan felt that a 1% increase was more appropriate.


After delivering her statement to the Committee Cllr Egan left the meeting and the Executive Member clarified that the Council could not increase rents by more than the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) +1%  and that the proposed increases were in line with Central Government recommendations and adhered to guidelines. The Tenant Panel had been consulted with and the proposals ratified by them.


RECOMMENDED that the Revenue Budget be endorsed by the Committee.


(Cllr Egan asked for her dissent to be noted and Cllr Murray abstained from voting).


RECOMMENDED that the Capital Programme be endorsed by the Committee.


(Cllrs Egan and Murray abstained from voting).


RECOMMENDED that the Housing Revenue Account (Landlord Service) Business Plan be endorsed by the Committee.


(Cllr Murray abstained from voting.)