Agenda and minutes

Corporate Budget, County Council
Tuesday, 23rd February, 2016 10.00 am

Venue: Chamber, County Hall, Carmarthen, SA31 1JP. View directions

Contact: Kevin Thomas  01267 224027

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors T. Bowen, D.M. Cundy, D.B. Davies, P. Edwards, M. Gravell, P.M. Hughes, J.P. Jenkins, H.B. Shepardson, J. Thomas, K.P. Thomas, M.K. Thomas and W.G. Thomas

2.

DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL INTERESTS.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor

Minute Number

Nature of Interest

C. P Higgins

 

 

6 – Revenue Budget Strategy 2016/17 – 2018/19

Undertakes work for Citizens Advice Bureau Wales.

S. L. Davies

 

 

6 – Revenue Budget Strategy 2016/17 – 2018/19 (Page 44)

Sports, Leisure, Theatres Alternative Delivery Model (2014).

A W. Jones

 

 

 

6 – Revenue Budget Strategy 2016/17 – 2018/19

Trustee of Ammanford Miners Welfare which leases an area of land to the County Council.

J.D. James

6 – Revenue Budget Strategy 2016/17 – 2018/19 (Page 44)

Sports, Leisure, Theatres Alternative Delivery Model (2014).

 

T. Devichand

 

 

 

6 – Revenue Budget Strategy 2016/17 – 2018/19 (Page 44)

Sports, Leisure, Theatres Alternative Delivery Model (2014) – Chair of Dafen Welfare Committee.

T. Devichand

8 Housing Revenue Account Budget and Housing Rent Setting for 2016/17.

 

Landlord

J. Edmunds

8 Housing Revenue Account Budget and Housing Rent Setting for 2016/17.

 

Landlord

T. Davies

 

 

7 – Five Year Capital Programme 2016/17 – 2020/21.

Chair of Trustees of Oriel Myrddin.

 

A Lenny

 

 

7 – Five Year Capital Programme 2016/17 – 2020/21.

Trustee of Oriel Myrddin.

 

 

A Lenny

6 – Revenue Budget Strategy 2016/17 – 2018/19.

 

Serves on the group appointed to look at the future of Carmarthen.

S.E. Thomas

 

 

7 – Five Year Capital Programme 2016/17 – 2020/21

Trustee of Oriel Myrddin.

 

 

S.M. Allen

 

 

7 – Five Year Capital Programme 2016/17 – 2020/21

Trustee of Oriel Myrddin.

 

 

A James

 

 

7 – Five Year Capital Programme 2016/17 – 2020/21

Trustee of Oriel Myrddin.

 

 

K. Madge

6 – Revenue Budget Strategy 2016/17 – 2018/19

7 – Five Year Capital Programme 2016/17 – 2020/21

Daughter works for Social Services.

 

3.

CHAIR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

·        The Chair extended his best wishes and a speedy recovery to Councillors P.M. Edwards and J. Thomas following their recent hospitalisation / ill-health,

·        The Chair extended his congratulations to Councillor D.J.R. Llewellyn and Mrs Llewellyn on being awarded a prize to remember Robin Ellis Griffiths which was awarded for a specific contribution in the community and society locally in North Pembrokeshire and West Carmarthenshire,

·        The Chair informed the Council of the arrangements for the forthcoming Welsh Week to be held in Carmarthen from Saturday 27th February – Saturday 5th March 2016 and extended an invitation to all members to attend the various events.

4.

QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS.

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Minutes:

The Chair advised that no questions by members had been received.

5.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS (NONE RECEIVED).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair advised that no public questions had been received.

6.

EXECUTIVE BOARD RECOMMENDATION - REVENUE BUDGET STRATEGY 2016/17 TO 2018/19; pdf icon PDF 484 KB

(Members are requested to note that due to the size of the appendix 1 A (ii) hard copies will not be provided and can be viewed on the Council’s website for the Executive Board Meeting of the 1st February 2016 via the following link:

http://democracy.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/documents/g299/Public%20reports%20pack%2001st-Feb-2016%2010.00%20Executive%20Board.pdf?T=10

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(NOTE: Councillors C.P. Higgins, S.L. Davies, A.W. Jones, J.D. James, T. Devichand, A. Lenny and K. Madge had earlier declared interests in this item and remained in the meeting during its consideration)

 

The Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 1st February, 2016, (Minute 14 refers) had considered the Revenue Budget Strategy 2016/17 to 2018/19 and had made a number of recommendations with regard thereto, as detailed within the Report of the Director of Corporate Services, for consideration by the Council.

 

The Council received a presentation from the Executive Board Member for Resources, on behalf of the Executive Board, in which he set out the background to the budget proposals being presented for Council’s consideration, incorporating the latest position on the Welsh Government Settlement, feedback on the budget consultation together with updates on growth and validation data. He commented on the fact that, for a number of years, the Authority had acknowledged the difficult funding scenario it had faced and recognised the need to do things differently, to prioritise how it spent its increasingly scarce resources and had always set a balanced budget whilst, at the same time maintaining service standards, to a large degree. For 2016/17, the Authority had once again only received a settlement for one year and it was fair to assume that the theme of unprecedented cash reductions in Local Government and Welsh Government settlements would continue. Accordingly, the Authority would need to continue to maintain its focus on efficiency or cost reductions to ensure its financial sustainability could be achieved and a balanced budget set into the future.

 

He advised that whilst the Council had received an indicative funding settlement for 2016/17 representing a 1% reduction, notification of the final settlement would not be received until the 2nd March, which would be subject to Welsh Government approval on the 9th March. Therefore, as per recommendation 1.3 within the report, the Director of Corporate Services would need to advise Council at its meeting on the 10th March of any changes in the settlement. Whilst the final settlement had yet to be announced, it was pleasing to note that the provisional settlement indicating a 1% reduction was more favourable than had been anticipated, which had allowed the Authority to reconsider some of its original budget proposals enabling adjustments to be made to some of the figures therein including adjusting for validation, efficiencies not identified, potential pay award and the level of protection offered to schools.

 

The Executive Board Member reported that whilst Carmarthenshire’s indicative settlement had reduced by 1%, the reduction, in real terms, would be significantly greater when the effects of inflation and new burdens were taken into account. Bearing in mind the fact Welsh Government funding accounted for approximately 76% of the Authority’s net spend, with each 1% equating to approximately £2.5m the impact of the reduction on spending plans was clear for all to see. However, whilst the authority would see a reduction in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

EXECUTIVE BOARD RECOMMENDATION - FIVE YEAR CAPITAL PROGRAMME 2016/17- 2020/21; pdf icon PDF 308 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(NOTE: Councillors T. Davies, A. Lenny, S.E. Thomas, S.M. Allen, A. James and K. Madge had earlier declared an interest in this item and remained in the meeting during its consideration)

 

The Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 1st February, 2016, (Minute 15 refers) had considered the Five Year Capital Programme (Council Fund) for the period 2016/17 to 2020/21 and had made a number of recommendations with regard thereto, as detailed within the Report of the Director of Corporate Services, for consideration by the Council.

 

The Council received a presentation from the Executive Board Member for Resources, on behalf of the Executive Board, on the Five Year Capital Programme that reflected the aims within the recently adopted Corporate Strategy for 2015-2020 that set out the Authority’s strategic priorities and aspirations.

 

The Executive Board Member advised Council that the capital programme now totalled £226m over the five year period and was aimed at delivering significant investment in a number of key projects to create jobs and improve the quality of life for the people of Carmarthenshire. Funding for the programme was currently estimated to via County Council funding of £133m, with a further £90m being delivered via external grant funding bodies. As with the revenue budget (minute 6 above), the capital programme had been based on the provisional settlement which provided the Authority with supported borrowing of £5.8m together with a general capital grant of £3.6m, both of which would be subject to Welsh Government confirmation in March, 2016.

 

The Executive Board Member outlined to the Council the range of projects to be supported by the programme that included 21st century schools, Rural Enterprise Fund, Industrial Estates Development, Llanelli Wellness Centre, Carmarthen Archive Service and a new closed circuit cycle track. Whilst monitoring of the programme and the funding thereof would need to be closely managed, he advised that the programme, as presented, was fully funded until 2019/20, with only a small shortfall in the final year for 2020/21.

 

References were made to the proposed extra care facility to be provided in Llanelli and to the future of the Cae Maen Residential Care Home. Clarification was sought on the current position with regard thereto. The Executive Board Member for Social Care and Health advised that in relation to the extra care facility, discussions on its provision were at an early stage and would need to reflect people’s needs over the next 25 years. No firm proposals had been formulated with regard thereto at the present time, but a report would be submitted to the Executive Board as the plans progressed. With regard to the future of the Cae Maen care home, she assured Council that there were no plans for its closure.

 

RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be adopted:-

 

7.1

The Five Year Capital Programme and funding, as detailed in Appendix B, with 2016/17 being a hard budget and 2017/18 to 2020/21 being soft/indicative budgets ( subject to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

HOUSING REVENUE ACCOUNT BUDGET AND HOUSING RENT SETTING FOR 2016/17; pdf icon PDF 285 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(NOTE: Councillors T. Devichand and J. Edmunds had earlier declared an interest in this item and remained in the meeting during its consideration)

 

The Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 1st February, 2016, (Minute 16 refers) had considered the Housing Revenue Account Budget and Housing Rent setting for 2016/17 and had made a number of recommendations with regard thereto, as detailed within the Report of the Director of Corporate Services, for consideration by the Council.

 

The Council received a presentation from the Executive Board Member for Resources, on behalf of the Executive Board, on the Revenue and Capital Budget proposals for the Housing Revenue Account for 2016/19 reflecting the aims of the 30 year Business Plan, which was the primary financial planning tool for delivering the Carmarthenshire Homes Standard Plus (CHS+) together with the Affordable Housing Strategy, due to be presented to the Council in March 2016.

 

The Executive Board Member advised that the proposed investment within the current business plan had delivered the Carmarthenshire Home Standard by 2015 and had provided investment to maintain both the CHS+ and to commence investment in the Affordable Housing Strategy, in the sums of £45m and £31m respectively.

 

He reminded the Council that there had been significant reform of the Housing Revenue Account in 2015/16 when the 11 housing stock authorities in Wales, including Carmarthenshire, had exited the outdated Housing Subsidy System, providing them with more control over their housing stock. For Carmarthenshire, whilst that required the Authority to borrow £79m to fund the exit, it had also resulted in the termination of the annual £6.2m payment to the Treasury.

 

The Executive Board Member advised that the Executive Board was proposing the average housing rent increase be set at 2.97% in line with the Welsh Government Social Housing Rent Harmonisation Policy, adopted by the Council the previous year, requiring it to work towards meeting the target rent within a five year period.  Carmarthenshire’s average low rent target was £78.08 and should the report recommendations be approved, its average rent would be set at £78.73 slightly above the low end target.

 

The Executive Board Member stated that as always, in determining the rent levels, it had been difficult to balance the impact of the rent increase on the Council’s tenants against the need to set rents in line with welsh government policy whilst ensuring it could continue to produce a sustainable business plan to progress the CHS+ and the Affordable Housing Strategy.

 

In moving the recommendations for Council’s consideration, he advised that the proposals had been unanimously supported by the Community Scrutiny Committee at its meeting held on the 15th January, 2016.

 

RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be adopted:-

 

8.1

To increase the average housing rent by 2.97% (£2.27) per dwelling per week as per the Welsh Government’s Social Housing Rents Policy (inclusive of progression for tenants below target rents) as that would produce a sustainable Business Plan and continue to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

TREASURY MANAGEMENT POLICY AND STRATEGY 2016-17. pdf icon PDF 335 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 1st February, 2016, (Minute 9 refers) had considered the Treasury Management Policy and Strategy 2016-17 and had made two recommendations with regard thereto, as detailed within the Report of the Director of Corporate Services, for consideration by the Council.

 

The Executive Board Member advised the Council that it was a requirement of the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management, which it had adopted, for the Council to maintain a Treasury Management Policy and Strategy that required approval annually prior to the start of the financial year it related to. In addition, under the Local Government Act 2003, the Council was also required to approve the treasury Management Indicators for the coming year, as detailed in Appendix D to the report.

 

RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be adopted:-

 

9.1

That the Treasury Management Policy and Strategy for 2016-17 and the recommendations therein be approved,

 

9.2

That the Treasury Management Indicators and recommendations therein be approved.

 

10.

TO RECEIVE THE REPORT OF THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD HELD ON THE 1ST FEBRUARY 2016. pdf icon PDF 593 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the report of the above meeting be received.