To consider the recommendations from the meeting of the Cabinet held on 24th February 2021 (to be tabled at the meeting).
Members are asked to note that under the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, the Council is required to take a named vote when a decision is made on the budget calculation or Council tax at a budget decision meeting of the Council.
Under Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, any Councillor who is 2 or more months in arrears with their Council tax payments cannot participate in any item at the Council meeting concerning the budget.
The Chairman introduced the item and in doing so explained that a meeting of Cabinet had taken place earlier in the day at which recommendations in respect of the Council Tax Resolutions and Council Tax Support Scheme had been considered. As the meeting had taken place that day it had not been possible to draft the minutes of the meeting for Members’ consideration at Council. However, the recommendations from the meeting had been published in a supplementary pack for the meeting.
Council Tax Resolutions 2021/22
Councillor G. Denaro, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling, presented the Council Tax Resolutions, as printed in a second supplementary pack for the meeting.
The recommendations in respect of the Council Tax Resolutions were proposed by Councillor G. Denaro and seconded by Councillor K. May.
In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 the Council Tax Resolutions was subject to a named vote.
Members voting FOR the Council Tax Resolutions:
Councillors S. Baxter, A. Beaumont, R. Deeming, G. Denaro, S. Douglas, A. English, M. Glass, S. Hession, C. Hotham, H. Jones, A. Kent, A. Kriss, R. Laight, K. May, M. Middleton, M. Sherrey, P. Thomas, M. Thompson, J. Till, K. Van Der Plank, S. Webb and P. Whittaker. (22)
Members voting AGAINST the Council Tax Resolutions:
Councillors L. Mallett, P. McDonald and H. Rone-Clarke. (3)
Members voting to ABSTAIN on the Council Tax Resolutions
Councillors S. Colella, R. Hunter, J. King and S. Robinson. (4)
The vote in respect of the Council Tax Resolutions was therefore carried.
1) The calculation for the Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2021/22 (excluding Parish precepts) as £8,664,624.08.
2) The following amounts be calculated for the year 2021/22 in accordance with sections 31 to 36 of the Act:
(a) £43,940,922 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A (2) of the Act (taking into account all precepts issued to it by Parish Councils) (i.e., Gross expenditure);
(b) £34,224,101 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A (3) of the Act. (i.e., Gross income);
(c) £9,716,821 being the amount by which the aggregate of 1.2.2(a) above exceeds the aggregate at 1.2.2(b) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31A (4) of the Act, as its Council Tax requirement for the year. (Item R in the formula in Section 31B of the Act);
(d) £261.30 being the amount at 1.2.2 (c) above (Item R), all divided by Item T (1.1(a) above), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year (including Parish precepts);
(e) £1,052,198 being the aggregate amount of all special items (Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34 (1) of the Act (as per the attached Schedule 3);
(f) £233.00 being the amount at 1.2.2 (d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at 1.2.2 (e) above by Item T (1.1 (a) above), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 34 (2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its area to which no Parish precept relates;
(g) The amounts shown in Column 3 of Schedule 1. These are the basic amounts of the council tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of the Council’s area shown in Column 1 of the schedule respectively to which special items relate, calculated by the Council in accordance with Section 34(3) of the Act. (District and Parish combined at Band D);
(h) The amounts shown in Column 5 of Schedule 1 being the amount given by multiplying the amounts at 2.2.2(g) above by the number which, in the proportion set out in Section 5(1) of the Act, is applicable to dwellings listed in a particular valuation band divided by the number which in that proportion is applicable to dwellings listed in valuation band D, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 36(1) of the Act, as the amounts to be taken into account for the year in respect of categories of dwellings listed in different valuation bands;
3) It be noted that for the year 2021/22, Worcestershire County Council, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia and Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority have issued precepts to the Council in accordance with Section 40 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 for each category of dwelling in the Council’s area as indicated below:
4) That having calculated the aggregate in each case of the amounts at 1.2.2(h) and 1.2.3 above, that Bromsgrove District Council in accordance with Sections 30 and 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 hereby sets the amounts shown in Schedule 2 as the amounts of Council Tax for 2021/22. for each part of its area and for each of the categories of dwellings;
5) The Executive Director Finance & Resources be authorised to make payments under Section 90(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 from the Collection Fund by ten equal instalments between April 2021 to March 2022 as detailed below:
6) The Executive Director Finance & Resources be authorised to make transfers under Section 97 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 from the Collection Fund to the General Fund the sum of £9,681,240 being the Council’s own demand on the Collection Fund (£8,664,623.06) and Parish Precepts (£1,052,197) and the distribution of the Deficit on the Collection Fund (£35,580);
7) The Executive Director Finance & Resources be authorised to make payments from the General Fund to Parish Councils the sums listed on Schedule 3 by two equal instalment on 1 April 2021 and 1 October 2021 in respect of the precept levied on the Council;
8) The above resolutions to be signed by the Chief Executive for use in legal proceedings in the Magistrates Court for the recovery of unpaid Council Taxes;
9) Notices of the making of the said Council Taxes signed by the Chief Executive are given by advertisement in the local press under Section 38(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992; and
10) That authority be delegated to the Head of Finance and Customer Services (Interim S151) following consultation with the finance portfolio holder to amend the resolution should the Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority Service not approve the estimated figure that is being used in this report. This is due to the Hereford and Worcester Authority Service having their approval meeting after this resolution report has been brought to Council.
Council Tax Support Scheme 2021/22
Councillor G. Denaro, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling, presented the Council Tax Support Scheme 2021/22 for Members’ consideration.
Council was informed that the proposed Council Tax Support Scheme 2021/22 would include 100 per cent relief for residents who were eligible for this support. By contrast, the existing scheme required every resident to make a contribution. Under the new scheme the relief would be tapered, calculated on the basis of household income.
The proposed changes would impact on some residents who were already in receipt of support under the existing Council Tax Support Scheme. In total, 82 per cent of those who were impacted would receive an increase in support; 3 per cent would not be affected; 15 per cent would experience a reduction in support. Residents who were negatively affected by the changes could apply for additional support under the Council’s Hardship Scheme.
During consideration of this item, Members discussed the proposed scheme and, in doing so, questioned how many residents would be impacted negatively and the amount of support they would lose. The exact amounts that each individual affected by the changes might lose could not be clarified at the meeting. However, Councillor Denaro explained that in total the lost support for that 15 per cent of affected residents was equivalent to £88,000. There was £85,000 available through the Hardship Scheme to support people and therefore it was anticipated that where necessary those affected could be helped.
As the full impact on each individual affected by the proposed changes could not be confirmed at the meeting, a deferral in respect of determining this matter was proposed by Councillor R. Hunter. This proposed deferral was seconded by Councillor S. Robinson.
In proposing the deferral of this item, Councillor Hunter commented that it would be helpful for Members to have access to this information before reaching a decision on the subject. Councillor Hunter suggested that the report should be referred back to Cabinet in order for Portfolio Holders to have an opportunity to consider the figures for all of the affected residents.
The proposed deferral was subsequently discussed in detail. On the one hand, Members commented that this would provide an opportunity to consider the number of people impacted by the changes to the scheme, the extent to which they would be impacted and the likely implications for demand for support from the Hardship Scheme moving forward. On the other hand, concerns were raised that changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme needed to be approved prior to 1st April 2021 and there would be limited time available to revisit the matter prior to that date. Reference was made to the potential to hold extraordinary meetings of both Cabinet and Council to consider the matter further, but concerns were raised about the delay that this might cause. Members were advised that the scheme would need to be reviewed again in 12 months’ time and the issue raised by Members in respect of the number of people impacted by changes to the scheme could be investigated further at that time.
On being put to the vote, the proposal in respect of deferring a decision on the Council Tax Support Scheme was lost.
The recommendation in respect of the Council Tax Support Scheme was proposed by councillor G. Denaro and seconded by Councillor K. May.
RESOLVED that the introduction of a new income banded / grid scheme for working age applicants with effect from 1st April 2021 to implement a modern, future proofed scheme and reduce the administrative burden placed on the Council by the introduction of Universal Credit.