Agenda item

Quarter Two Budget Monitoring Report 2018-19 - to end September 2018


Members were provided with information on actual performance against the approved Revenue and Capital budgets for 2018/19, including known variances agreed or identified through budgetary control activity. Members were also updated on other key areas of financial performance that may impact on the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy, Medium Term Financial Plan, HRA Business Plan or Financial Statements.


The Principal Accountant (General Fund) advised that it is the second budget report of the 2018/19 financial year for second quarter to 30 September 2018 and directed Members attention to Page 96 of the report. It was a detailed one page executive summary that highlighted and explained the main points from the report regarding: 


  • General Fund (Revenue)
  • General Fund (Capital)
  • HRA (Revenue)
  • Housing Capital


The Principal Accountant (General Fund) and the Principal Accountant (Housing & Exchequer) elaborated further on their respective fields outlined in the executive summary, quoting the figures from the report.  


General Fund


The Principal Accountant (General Fund) and the Assistant Director (Corporate Services) fielded questions from Members explaining that:


·         The statue of the Queen was fully funded by third party contributions but the statue has to be included on the asset register as a council asset and therefore any capital costs incurred against the statue has to be reflected in the General Fund Capital Programme

·         Waste Freighter Vehicle Parts £25K adverse variance – GBC bought the vehicles new but they were new models and budgetary provision for replacement parts was not sufficiently made. The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) will liaise with the Operational Services Team to obtain further information on the matter.

·         Town Pier Remedial Works – It is unsure if any money has been reimbursed for the works that were carried out at the Town Pier; it will be followed up on and brought back to the Committee.  The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) advised that GBC are reviewing our repairs and remedial works requirement for the Civic Centre, all civic buildings and assets; the sea wall by St Andrews Church will be taken into account as a part of that planning. 

·         The Principal Accountant (General Fund) added that there are working groups which look at assets within the Borough, at what needs to be done with them, when it needs to be carried out by and funding arrangements such as securing external funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund

·         A £91k Flexible Homelessness Grant was received in 2017/18 and has been released to fund temporary accommodation costs; the Homelessness Reduction grant varies from year to year and the grant is held until it is required to be drawn upon to fund services the same as other grants are used

·         Refuse Collection – KCC contribution: KCC have fully reimbursed the council for the additional tipping-away costs (such as fuel and staffing) incurred due to the fire at the Pepperhill site

·         On page 109, Developer Contributions: Whitehill Road is possibly a typo, it should be Whitehill Lane, it will be clarified for the Committee 


The Assistant Director (Corporate Services) gave an overview of the Autumn Budget announcement at the behest of the Chair: 


  • Government announced an extra £45 million funding for Disabled Facilities Grant for 2018/19 however a dialogue will need to be had with KCC as to how any additional money will be allocated between the two organisations due to the service arrangements under the Better Care Fund
  • £675 million of co-funding was announced for a High Street Fund which will be used to rejuvenate high streets and change unused business and commercial property into residential; The Assistant Director (Communities) and his Economic Team are already looking into that fund and how it could be used in Gravesham
  • Retails premises with a rateable value of under £51K will have their business rates reduced by a third for the next two years; the Council will receive a Section 31 grant from Central Government to be reimbursed for the impact of this announcement which should result in a neutral variance 
  • Continuation of discounts to local paper offices as well as 100% relief for public toilets
  • A heads up was given a to spending review for 2019 and talked about average real term increases in annual Resource Departmental Expenditure Limit (RDELS) over the next five years of around 1.2% per annum.  However when looking into details behind that announcement there is reference to above inflation increases for NHS, so it is currently unclear what this will mean for local government. Local Government will have to wait for the outcome of the 2019 spending review


HRA and Treasury Management


The Principal Accountant (Housing & Exchequer) answered questions and comments from the Committee explaining that: 


  • There will be a Member training session on the 29 January 2019 given by Link on Treasury Management
  • The properties purchased on the open market reference at 6.4.1 tend to be former right to buy properties which are located nearby to other Council properties and have similar maintenance requirements as existing stock. GBC can use right to buy receipts to purchase such properties but they are susceptible to right to buy


The Chair thanked the officers for an informative update. 


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