Q1 relates to the MTFP papers Item 5 2015-2016:
http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/meetings/reports.asp?item=1186 (Item 5 and appendices)
– Cabinet Member Key
– Cabinet Member Non-key
– Officer Non-key
– Alternative funding source identified – No change to service
– Over achievement of previous years savings
– Fee reduction – No decision
a) Can the “savings” be identified by decision type (by the number of and amount per type)?
b) Can an explanation of the difference between “savings” and “cuts” be provided?
Q2 Relates to Item 5 MTFP 2015-16
a) Please explain why the Council Tax 0% increase (freeze) “incentive” is not identified separately in the 2015/16 Service Control Totals and the Movement in Core Funding Streams (Annex A) in the 2020 Vision document – link below (when other similar politically controlled Local Authorities are planning a 1.99% Council Tax increase)?
http://www.somerset.gov.uk/policies-and-plans/plans/medium-term-financial-plan/ (also Item 5 in the Cabinet papers)
b) Is the Council Tax Freeze grant approximately £2m for 2015-2016?
c) The DCLG (Final Local Government Settlement) indicate 2 separate figures for Council Tax freeze compensation. Can these figures be explained?
d) Can a separate budget paper be produced showing the element mentioned in a) and the impact of 0.5%, 1%, 1.5%, 1.99%, 2.5%, increase in Council Tax? The 2020 paper shows that a 1% increase is equivalent to £1.8m?
e) How much would a 2% rise in Council Tax (year on year) since the start of the Council Tax Freeze (grant) have increased the CTAX on a Band D property (annually, weekly and daily)?
f) Would a £1.99% increase in Council Tax – help to alleviate the pressures in Children’s and Adults Social Care?
Q3 Did the Council contribute to the DCLG consultation on the Local Government Finance Settlement (2015-2016)?
Q4 Relates to Item 5 MTFP 2015-16
“FAIRER FUNDING FOR SOMERSET (E) The Leader and Cabinet are recommended to agree and recommend to County Council:
To continue to pursue a campaign for fairer funding for Somerset County Council to ensure County Plan priorities are fully funded (ref para 3.3).”
a) Does the campaign include provision for improved public transport (eg more frequent bus services)?
b) And include Increased social care provision with a reduction in charges to service users and their families and carers?
Q5 Relates to Item 7 Revenue Strategy 2016-17 to 2020-21
“2.2.2 The Council has made significant savings (in excess of £100 million)
over the last five years. With similar levels of savings being required
over the next five years, these will prove to be extremely challenging to
identify and achieve going forwards. Innovative steps have been taken
in recent years to implement initiatives to deliver the required savings
with processes being re-engineered and funding redirected across a
number of organisations within Somerset.
2.2.3 One inescapable consequence of the financial constraints is the need to
transform services in order to provide more for less. This, together with
above average demographic growth, places huge pressure on services
to ensure service availability meets user needs. Without good financial
plans and procedures in place, it is unlikely that demand will be funded.”
It is forecast that the Revenue Support Grant form Central Government will reduce to Zero, Business Rates will increase as will the proportion of Council Tax collected. How will the Council be able to meet increasing demand and a further cut (saving?) of £100m in five years (“more for less”)?