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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 22/01/2007
Draft General Fund Revenue Estimates 2007/2008



APPENDIX D
Waverley Borough Council

COrporate OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - 22ND JANUARY 2007

Title:
FINANCIAL STRATEGY 2007/2008 – 2009/2010
DRAFT GENERAL FUND REVENUE ESTIMATES 2007/2008
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

This report updates the Committee on the latest position regarding the General Fund Budget. It contains proposals for reducing the Budget shortfall, which the Executive is due to consider on 9th January.

This Committee is asked to give its views on subsequent recommendations from the Executive. The Executive will give final consideration to the Budget on 6th February 2007, including the comments reported from the Overview and Scrutiny meetings and the Licensing Committee, before making recommendations to Council on 20th February 2007.

Environmental implications:

There are no direct environmental implications as a result of the recommendation of this report. However, the estimates do include services that have very significant environmental benefits.

Social / community implications:

There are no direct social/community implications as a result of the recommendation of this report. However, the estimates do include services that do have very significant social/community benefits.

E-Government implications:

The Estimates contain budgets to enable the delivery of Waverley’s E-Government Strategy.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no direct legal implications as a result of the recommendation of this report. Resource implications are contained throughout the report.

Introduction

1. The draft 2007/2008 General Fund Revenue Estimates were presented to the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 20th November 2006. Members are requested to refer to the detailed Estimates contained at Annexes 1, 2, 3 and 4 to the Budget Item (Appendix E.2) for that meeting and to bring these papers to the meeting in January.

2. In order that information is available to the Committee as early as possible, this report is based on the suggestions made by the Chief Officer Group, as submitted for consideration by the Executive on 9th January. The Committee will be informed of the subsequent recommendations from the Executive on 9th and it may be necessary to circulate an updated report.
The Revenue Support Grant Settlement 3. Waverley’s provisional Revenue Support Grant Settlement for 2007/2008 was received at the end of November. The key figures were reported to the Executive on 5th December.

4. The details of the Settlement are:

As expected, the headline increase in Waverley’s Grant for 2007/08 is 2.7%
Waverley actually receives a cash increase of 2.6% being 146,000
Council Tax capping remains – The Government expects increases to be below 5% Budget Position

5. The Management Team recommended to the Executive that Council Tax be increased by the likely capping limit of 5%. However, the Executive has indicated a desire to restrict the increase in Waverley’s element of Council Tax to the level of inflation. 6. The Budget position is that, after taking account of all known service variations, the provisional Revenue Support Grant Settlement, and the Executive’s preference for a council tax increase in line with inflation there is a shortfall in the region of 300,000. The Management Team has suggested measures that could be taken to eliminate this shortfall and thereby restrict the Council Tax increase to 3.9%, in line with the latest Retail Price Index.

Potential Reductions 7. Following the Executive of 5th December, the Management Team commenced the process of examining the draft Budget for further possible reductions. The Budget Monitoring process to the end of November has also identified several ongoing savings and these are included in the list of potential reductions as shown at Annexe 1. This annexe includes an appraisal of the impact of these reductions, which total approximately 273,000.

Analysis of Licensing Budget

8. The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, at its meeting on 20th November, expressed concern about the cost of licensing, and requested that it be presented with an analysis of expenditure and income arising from the various Licensing functions. This analysis has been prepared and is included at Annexe 2. The additional income of 5,000 identified from the Budget Monitoring process has been included in the figures. The draft estimates include the vacant legal resource charged against Liquor Licensing, but the figures in brackets show the position if the decision is taken to remove this from the Budget. The actual cost of this post to the Council is 25,000, but the recharge to the Licensing Committee is 37,400 as this includes overhead allocations.

9. It should be noted that the average overall rate of recovery of Liquor Licensing is considerably higher than the 2007/2008 figure, because in 2005/2006 income was significantly higher and fully covered the cost of the service in that year. At the time of writing the report, annual fees continue to be received for 2006/7.

10. The extremely low rate of recovery for other Licensing functions has been identified previously. This arises from time-consuming processes being involved, together with historically low charges including some very low statutory charges. Some work is undertaken for which no fee is received.

Conclusion

11. The Overview and Scrutiny and Licensing Committees will give further consideration to the Budget at their meetings in January. Comments made at these meetings will be reported to the next meeting of the Executive on 6th February 2007, which will agree final recommendations to Council on 20th February 2007.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Committee gives further consideration to the draft General Fund Estimates for the services within its remit, including the proposed Budget Reductions.

Background Papers (DoF)

Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2007/08; Financial Strategy 2007/08 – 2009/10; Finance Seminar slides; draft Service Plans 2007/08; Community Strategy; Revenue Budget 200607

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Brian Long Telephone: 01483 523253
E-mail: blong@waverley.gov.uk


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