Council Budget 2017/18

Council Budget 2017/18Tuesday 21st February, saw this year’s council tax and budget-setting council meeting.

In terms of the headlines, for the High Peak, the meeting agreed a budget of £10,795,870 for 2017/18 with a council tax increase of 1.9% – meaning a Band D increase to £181.11. For council house rents, there will be a 1% cut, with garages having a 1% increase .

For my part, I spoke around the following notes (the reason for notes rather than a set speech is to respond to points raised and to try and not repeat anything that’s already been said – unless it’s a significant point) :

  • Labour group has concerns but will be supporting budget and it council tax rise of 1.9%
    Concerns that the Government of the day is failing to support local councils especially around social care with no chance of a sweet heart deal like Suffolk – and new homes bonus been manipulated to support the funding of social care rather than supporting enabling and assisting with service provision for new homes as originally billed to local councils.
  • Concerns around consultation on budget choices with the impact of funding cuts not offering a range of choice to allow engagement and comment but essentially if or if not in some services
  • Welcome continued support for council tax support scheme including the funding to parishes
  • Final #localgov settlement confirmed last night means that district councils are hardest hit, suffering from a 5.2 per cent cut to core spending power
  • Meaning for the High Peak a 400k cut from last to this in core spending power further cut of 200k next year – 227 to 212 per dwelling from last year to next
  • Concerned that whilst government encouraged council’s to sign up to four year deals – the deals on funding are misleading given the changes in the small print which set significant parts of the funding like new homes bonus.
  • Noted, Cllr Neil Clarke, chairman of the District Councils’ Network, said the changes to the New Homes Bonus risk removing incentives for housing growth and create further financial instability.
  • Full Quote “District councils will be hardest by this final settlement for 2017-18, suffering from a 5.2 per cent cut to core spending power, compared to average 1.1 per cent reductions across the whole of local government,” he added.
    “If district councils are to help government deliver on its bold house building ambitions, then the introduction of a new 0.4 per cent baseline for housing growth under which councils will not receive any New Homes Bonus is not the answer and undermine local support for housing growth. It is unfair, and counterproductive.
    “There is no doubt that additional funding for adult social care is needed. However, this shouldn’t be done at the expense of equally vital services. Solutions which only recycle existing local government funding and benefit only 95 out of 152 social care authorities is robbing Peter to pay Paul.
    “What is needed is a sustainable and long-term funding solution, alongside a far greater focus on prevention to reduce demand.”
  • Approves the following HRA charges:
    – Dwellings rents to reduce by an average of 1% (over 52 weeks) from £71.47 to £70.73 average per week – Garage rents to be increased by 1% (over 52 weeks) from £6.10 to £6.16 average per week – Other Charges including service charges to increase by a maximum of 1% – Fuel charges at individual blocks have been reviewed based on 2015/16 fuel costs
  • Express concerns around the unintended consequences of the 1% rent cut and the damage that this is doing to social housing as a whole along with the restrictions in place around use of right to buy money
  • Need to give keen consideration to HRA repayment schedule in light of changes to ensure that gov changes won’t impact on service provided and that in the absence of partners coming forward to build social housing with us review option to build ourselves
  • Flag importance of support for local communities and frontline services as highlighted by the recently circulated 2016 achievements
  • Finally, the challenge during the forthcoming year for all member’s particulars those involved in scrutiny will be to ensure the arrangements put in place for waste, street scene leisure both meet the savings targets identified but all mean the needs and aspirations of our residents in terms of what service we will be expecting, and that will mean particularly with assets there will be some significant challenges ahead.

The meeting also approved the council’s medium term financial plan, which includes within it, the councils efficient and rationalisation strategy, that includes targets of £2.131 million of savings and areas for the council to earn more money, to counteract the effect of government cuts in funding over the four-year life of the program.

As the collecting authority, the bill you will receive whilst badged High Peak, will be for more than just the 1.9% increase from the High Peak, including increases of 3.99% from Derbyshire County Council (including 2% for social care costs), 1.99% from Derbyshire Police and 1.98% from the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Authority, meaning a band D bill of £1645.95.

You can view the details – reports considered at the council meeting by clicking here