The Budget 2015/16
This page provides a brief summary of the council's budget for 2015/16.
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 2015/16 set out a further £1.7m 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 £8m. It is on course to deliver a further £1.4m in 2014/15.
- The Council's finances face ongoing pressures; in particular the low interest rate has limited the amount of investment income that the Council can use to support the budget.
- We are using £0.185million of our reserves to support our spending. It is important that reliance on using reserves in future years is reduced as the severe funding pressures within Local Government are set to continue.
- The borough council's Council Tax precept was frozen for the sixth consecutive year, helped by a Council Tax freeze grant.
How we are making savings
The savings programme will have minimal impact on frontline services but will instead focus on income generation from commercial activities, e.g. an additional £0.675m of income is expected to be generated from the new Campus West entertainment facilities, the Estates income target will be increased by £0.3m, also a part year saving of £0.073m is expected to be realised from the Campus East Office Accommodation programme.
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 £5.586m in 14/15 to £4.809m in 15/16; on a like for like basis, this represents a reduction of 15.2%.
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:
- £25.5m for housing, including £12.8m for Social Housing Programme and £0.49m for Disabled Facilities Grants
- £2.3m for the continued redevelopment of Hatfield Town Centre
- £1.6m for development of Splashlands
The 2015/16 general fund budget and capital investment programme was approved by the Full Council on 25th February 2015.