The Budget 2014/15
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 for 2014/15 is the fourth year of savings as part of the government's austerity measures.
- The budget proposals for 2014/15 set out a further £1.4m of savings, it should be noted that the council has already delivered £4.7m of efficiency since 2011/12. It is on course to deliver a further £1.9m in 2013/14.
- The Council's finances face ongoing pressures; in particular the low interest rate has limited the amount of investment that the Council can use to support the budget.
- We are using £0.958million 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 fifth consecutive year, helped by a Council Tax freeze grant.
How we are making savings
The Council has undertaken a number of service reviews which have identified savings in the region of £0.56m for 2014/15. The Council is also due to deliver £0.14m of savings through procurement and re-negotiation of contract specifications, and initiatives have been put in place to maximise our external income of £0.60m. Other savings include reduction of non-essential spend in areas such as IT equipment, subscriptions and premises related savings, which together amount to £0.07m.
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 £6.446m in 13/14 to £5.586m in 14/15 on a like for like basis, this represents a reduction of 13.3%.
Investing in Welwyn Hatfield
We are still investing 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:
- £17.025m for housing, including £5.2m for Social Housing Programme and £0.62m for Disabled Facilities Grants
- £3.3m for Council Offices extension and improvements
- leisure and community facilities, including £1.09m for Campus West refurbishment
- £2.194m for the continued redevelopment of Hatfield Town Centre
- £1.0m for Chantry Lane Chalk Mines remediation works
- £1.6m for development of Splashlands
The 2014/15 general fund budget and capital investment programme was approved by the Full Council on 26 February 2014.