The Budget 2016/17
This page provides a brief summary of the council's budget for 2016/17.
The council's finances continue to come under significant pressure in unprecedented times of economic uncertainty and declining levels of public sector funding. The budget is the fifth year of savings as part of the government's austerity measures.
- The budget proposals for 2016/17 set out a further £1.1m of savings, it should be noted that since the start of the Government's austerity programme in 2010, the council has delivered efficiency savings in the region of £10m. It is on course to deliver a further £1.5m in 2015/16.
- The Council is facing a decline in the grant income from central government, as funding for services is increasingly being derived from Council Tax and Business Rates funding.
- The Council's finances face ongoing pressures; in particular the New Homes Bonus grant and the 100% Business Rates Retention proposal are set to change funding in future years and as such we are budgeting in 2016/17 to contribute £0.26m to the general fund balance, which is primarily due to a £0.28m transfer of the New Homes Bonus to a strategic reserve for future uncertainties in funding.
- The borough council's Council Tax precept was frozen for the seventh consecutive year.
How we are making savings
The savings programme will have minimal impact on frontline services but will instead focus on income generation along with other efficiencies, e.g. £0.3m from an organisational and service review to reflect sharing services with the Housing Trust, £0.3m income from the estates property portfolio and environmental services income, £0.3m from the rationalisation of office space and finally £0.2m from system improvements and other small changes to budgets.
Reduction in Government Funding
The Council's single biggest element of the grant funding comes from the retained business rates and revenue support grant and this is reduced from £4.809m in 15/16 to £4.321m in 16/17; on a like for like basis, this represents a reduction of 10.1%.
Investing in Welwyn Hatfield
We continue to invest significant amounts of capital in our buildings and land, to continue improving Welwyn Hatfield as a place to live, work and shop. These include some major investments in 2016/17:
- £25.2m for housing, including £13.3m for Affordable Housing Programme and £0.44m for Disabled Facilities Grants
- £1m for the continued redevelopment of Hatfield Town Centre
- £1m for development of Splashlands
- £1m for Bereavement Services
The 2016/17 general fund budget and capital investment programme was approved by the Full Council on 7th March 2016.