Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To update Cabinet on Shaping the Council and Budget Savings progress.
Councillor J. Kent, the Leader of the Council, introduced the report which set out the pressures in 2015/16 and the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) with a need to meet an estimated budget gap of over £28 million for the four years between 2016/17 and 2019/20. Members were advised that the latest MTFS included the impact of the cessation of the Serco contract which would allow for greater flexibility in future and that it was hoped that staff could join the authority a month early.
In introducing the report the Leader highlighted to Members attention a graph which documented the decline of the revenue support grant received by Thurrock Council from Central Government from 2010/11 to the present day and an estimated projection to 2019/20. The graph documented a cut of £36 million.
The Leader further expressed concerns following the latest Chancellors speech at the Conservative Party Conference, where it was announced that local authorities could retain business rates locally, which he felt was misleading as in reality much of the business rates collected would still be retained and distributed among other Boroughs and Districts.
Councillor B. Rice explained that that cuts in the revenue support grant from Central Government had a considerable negative impact on her service area, where the total gross spend on older persons had reduced by one third per person from 2009. She further reported that the service faced significant challenges in light of the fact that the government had imposed a £600,000 in-year grant funding cut on Thurrock, which would need to be recouped across the next 6 months.
Councillor Holloway observed that it was helpful to have such information presented each month, especially when residents saw essential services in difficulty, such as waste collection and grass cutting.
Councillor J. Kent highlighted the impact of the government cuts on Essex Police, which would see 32 of the current 38 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) cut.
Councillor Gerrish observed that in future year’s services that residents regard as essential will not be able to be delivered and difficult choices would need to be made.
Councillor Okunade reported that budget cuts in Children’s Social Care were unavoidable but the Council were committed to delivering a safe service.
There was a brief debate on the negative impact the recent announcement by Central Government to impose a 1% reduction on rents over the next four years would have in Thurrock, which equated to £4.5 million per year.
1. That Cabinet note the current financial position and that a future Shaping the Council and Budget Update report will set out any financial impact of pressures within the Children’s and Housing Services budget, as set out in the report; and
2. That Cabinet note the latest update on the Serco transition.
Reason for Decision - as stated in the report
This decision is subject to call-in
Report author: Sean Clark
Publication date: 16/10/2015
Date of decision: 14/10/2015
Decided at meeting: 14/10/2015 - Cabinet
Effective from: 24/10/2015