Agenda item

Budget Proposals for 2020/21 to 2023/24 and Options for Council Tax 2020/21

Report of the Chief Fire Officer and Treasurer to the Fire Authority


As Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee, Councillor John Clarke, thanked the Committee’s members and all members of the Finance Team for their hard work and dedication, stating that the Service is now in a good financial position but caution needs to be exercised with regard to the potential impact of coronavirus on financial markets, adding that this will be carefully tracked.


Becky Smeathers, Head of Finance, presented the report which:


  i.  proposes Revenue and Capital Budgets for 2020/21 to 2023/24, including the recommendation of the Finance and Resources Committee regarding the Council Tax precept (with the predicted impact of different potential levels of Central Government funding, along with a zero council tax rise, or a 1.95% Council Tax rise);


 ii.  sets out Fees and Charges for 2020/21;


iii.  seeks approval for the continuation of the approved members’ allowances scheme; and


iv.  provides a statement from the Treasurer to the Authority.


The Chair thanked all members, the Finance Team and members of the Finance and Resources Committee for their response to challenging financial situations, and also to political group leaders for their contribution and support. The impact on frontline staffing is acknowledged but if the recommendation of the Finance and Resources Committee is accepted with a council tax increase of 1.95%, the Service will be in a relatively healthy financial position, without using reserves or implementing further cuts, whilst having minimal impacts on citizens and providing important frontline services and prevention work.


Questions from members were responded to as follows:


a)  The final settlement for pensions is still yet to be determined, but the Local Government Association is looking at the potential outcomes, including a potential additional costs and the possibility of Central Government support. A final decision is not expected before 2022 although the final impact on the Service could be extended for more than 40 years. The McCloud judgement and on-going uncertainties will also impact on the new, and yet to be determined, pensions administration contract in that there will be additional costs due to the additional complexities, but all additional costs will be closely monitored and fed into the budget process;



Members of the Authority acknowledged the hard work and engagement across the Service which has resulted in the achievement of a balanced budget.


Members voting in favour of implementing a 1.95% increase of Council Tax precept are:


Councillor Michael Payne (Chair)

Councillor Toby Neal (Vice-Chair)

Councillor Andrew Brown

Councillor John Clarke

Councillor Sybil Fielding

Councillor Vaughan Hopewell

Councillor Gul Nawaz Khan

Councillor Jawaid Khalil

Councillor John Longdon

Councillor Salma Mumtaz

Councillor Mike Quigley MBE

Councillor Shuguftah Quddoos

Councillor Nick Raine

Councillor Sue Saddington

Councillor Parry Tsimbiridis

Councillor Stuart Wallace

Councillor Jonathan Wheeler


Members absent: Councillor Jason Zadrozny




1)  to approve the recommendation of the Finance and Resources Committee that there is a 1.95% Council Tax increase;


2)  to approve for the 2020/21 precept level to be notified to the Billing Authorities based on the information set out in Section 2 and Appendix D to the report, as required by statute;


3)  to approve the fees and charges for 2020/21, as set out in Appendix E to the report:


4)  to approve the payment of Members’ Allowances for 2020/21 in accordance with the approved scheme.


Supporting documents: