Agenda item

Budget and Council Tax Setting: 2016/2017 and Medium Term Financial Strategy (Report No COU/FH/16/004)

Report No: COU/FH/16/004


Councillor Stephen Edwards, Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, presented this report which set out the Council’s proposed revenue and capital budget for 2016/2017 and sought approval to set the level of Council Tax required to fund the budget.


The Cabinet Member spoke on the successful way the Council was operating commercially and the excellent record the Authority had achieved in reducing costs whilst maintaining and in some areas improving key services, even in the face of financial pressures brought about by the reduction in Government funding; such as the Revenue Support Grant.


He praised Officers and Members for their efforts in the production of the budget report and thanked the Performance & Audit Scrutiny Committee for their valued input.


Councillor Edwards was pleased to report that Forest Heath had been able to freeze the Council Tax for the seventh year in a row, making it the lowest Council Tax in the whole of Suffolk and the only Local Authority within the County to have frozen it for 2016/2017.


The Deputy Leader and Councillor Lance Armstrong each also spoke on this item and echoed the praise for Officers in their management of the Council’s budgets.  Reference was also made to the clear political leadership of the Authority which had enabled it to deliver the Conservative’s promise within their manifesto to freeze the Council Tax.


Following the motion of the Cabinet Member, as seconded by the Deputy Leader, the Service Manager (Legal) explained that a recorded vote was legally required for this item. 


Upon being put to the vote Members voted as follows:


Name of Member




Ruth Allen




Michael Anderson




Andrew Appleby




Chris Barker




John Bloodworth




David Bowman




Ruth Bowman




Rona Burt




Louis Busuttil




Simon Cole




Stephen Edwards




Brian Harvey




Carol Lynch




Robin Millar




David Palmer




Peter Ridgwell




Nigel Roman




Bill Sadler




Reg Silvester




Lance Stanbury




James Waters









With the vote being unanimous, it was






1.            Having taken into account the information received by Cabinet on 10 February 2016 (Report No CAB/FH/16/005) including the Report by the Head of Resources and Performance (S151 Officer) set out in Attachment C, together with the up to date information and advice contained in this report, the level of Band D Council Tax for 2016/2017 be set at £137.43.


2.            Subject to (1.) above, the following formal Council Tax resolution be adopted:-

                                     i.        The revenue and capital budget for 2016/2017 attached at Attachment A, and as detailed in Attachment D, Appendix 1-5 and Attachment E, be approved;

                                    ii.        The MTFS projected budget position for 2017/2018 to 2019/2020, as detailed in Attachment D Appendix 1, be noted;

                                   iii.        A general fund balance of £2 million be agreed to be maintained, as detailed in paragraph 1.9.2;

                                  iv.        The statutory calculations under Section 30 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, attached as Attachment G, be noted;

                                    v.        The Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Police Authority precepts issued to Forest Heath District Council, in accordance with Section 40 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and outlined at paragraphs 2.5 and 2.6 below, be noted;

                                  vi.        In accordance with Section 30(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, the amounts shown in Schedule D of Attachment F be agreed as the amount of Council Tax for the year 2016/17 for each of the categories of dwellings shown; and

                                 vii.        The Head of Resources and Performance be authorised to amend where necessary the amounts in Attachment F and G in accordance with any changes notified by Newmarket Town Council, to the provisional precept.


3.            The Head of Resources and Performance, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Resources and Performance, be authorised to transfer any surplus on the 2015/2016 revenue budget to the Invest to Save Reserve as detailed in paragraph 1.9.4, and to vire funds between existing Earmarked Reserves (as set out at Attachment D, Appendix 3) as deemed appropriate throughout the year.


4.       100% disregard of War Pensions, War Widower’s Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Payments or any other successor scheme, be approved in the calculation of Housing Benefit, as set out in paragraphs 1.4.3 to 1.4.5 below;


5.       The revised Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) policy, as set out in section 1.8 and Attachment D Appendix 4, is adopted; and


6.       Where the Council has usable capital receipts that are not needed for other purposes, delegated authority be given for the Section 151 Officer to apply, where prudent to do so, some or all of it to meet capital expenditure incurred in the current year or previous years under paragraph 23 of the 2003 Regulations to reduce or eliminate any MRP that might need to be set aside. Subject to the year-end outturn, unallocated usable capital receipts are used to meet the full Capital Financing Requirement (CFR) value during 2015/2016, thus eliminating the need for an MRP charge in 2016/2017 and until such time that the CFR calculation requires one.


Councillor Louise Marston left the meeting at 6.33pm during the discussion of this item and prior to the voting thereon.

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