A Thanet Council budget deficit of £ 691,000 has been forecast for the 2022/23 fiscal year, with plans to close the gap including cutting vacancies and a management restructuring that could save around £ 100,000 .
The proposals will also include an increase in fees and charges of at least 2%, – excluding on-street parking fees – and an increase in Thanet District Council’s element of the residents’ housing tax.
The shortfall is lower than the £ 1.8million previously forecast for 2022/23.
Thanet Council receives only a small portion of the overall council tax, with the remainder going to Kent County Council; Kent Police and Crime Commissioner; Kent Fire and Rescue Service and town / parish councils. This means that households on a D Band property in Thanet will pay TDC 68p per day for the services provided.
The savings of £ 573,000 identified to date include:
- £ 280,000 from the elimination of vacancies
- £ 25,000 from other staff changes such as agreed reduction in hours
- £ 57,000 in contractual savings
- £ 50,000 reduction in the amount set aside for bad debt
- £ 30,000 extra income for bulky waste
- £ 33,000 in additional rental income
An expenditure of £ 1.17million for growth includes:
● £ 30,000 for regeneration
● £ 402,000 for waste collection
● £ 85,000 for legal fees
● £ 400,000 for the homeless
● £ 160,000 for your entertainment
It is also planned:
● £ 50,000 reduction in income for Building Control
● £ 50,000 reduction in license revenues.
A report to Cabinet members indicates that another option may be to ask staff to show interest in voluntary layoffs. A “service overhaul” is also proposed.
The report states: “After a decade of austerity, our services have undergone a series of efficiency and cost-savings reviews and as such there remain very few opportunities to save money without affecting the configuration of services and, consequently, our residents, customers or staff. . In other words, almost all “easy wins” are gone and almost all savings proposals will involve hard decisions to be made. “
With low reserves and substantial cuts in government funding, the report cites other financial pressures facing the council. These include inflation, inadequacies in the payment of municipal taxes and trade rates, and increases in national insurance contributions. There are also increasing demands on key municipal services, including homelessness, waste and recycling, as more household waste is generated due to working from home and more households in the neighborhood.
The council also had to pay some £ 733,000 for legal costs due to ongoing disciplinary proceedings and grievances with the authority. Savings can be made from deals concluded in action to be taken following a damning report from auditors.
An additional £ 280,000 has been agreed as a settlement following the departure last month of former senior officer Tim Willis.
The report presents three neutral, positive and pessimistic fiscal scenarios with deficits ranging from £ 60,000 to £ 2million for the year.
The report says there are deficiencies in municipal tax collections and business rates, adding: Council Tax Support (CTS) applicants and non-payment of those who do not collect CTS).
“Business rate revenues could also be affected by business failures due to an economic downturn. There is also the precipice of ending business rate relief for small businesses and those in the retail, leisure and hospitality industries, as these businesses have to start paying rates again. It is also very unlikely that there will be a business subsidy program in 2022-2023. “
Government funding cuts
Thanet’s council income has been drastically reduced since 2010 with huge cuts in government grants.
The report states, “Over the past decade, the council has implemented a series of cost reduction, budget savings and transformation programs to find the resource reduction needed to balance the budget.
“After more than a decade of austerity, the council received £ 8million less government funding in 2021 than we received in 2010, which equates to a 60% cut in funding. Our funding and expenditure budgets fell from £ 23million in 2010-11 to £ 17million in 2020-2021, a reduction of £ 6million or 26% in cash, but after taking into account the impact of inflation over the period, we now have less than half (45%) of the purchasing power we had in 2010.
Cllr David Saunders, Finance Cabinet Member at Thanet District Council, said: “Like many other local authorities across the country, we face a difficult financial situation as we try to plan for the year. future. At this point, we need to make a number of assumptions to ensure that we are proactive in responding to the financial pressures we are likely to face in the not-so-distant future.
“These financial pressures, which were evident even before the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with significant uncertainty about the amount of funding we will receive from the central government, mean that we are presenting a strategy that truly foresees the worst in the future. an attempt to gain greater financial security for later counseling.
The Thanet District Council will discuss its budget and medium-term financial strategy 2022-2026 at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, November 18.
Once agreed, the budget and medium-term financial strategy are used to define more specific details of how the board will affect its future spending. This information is then included in a budget report which is released in January for Cabinet approval and then to the Full Council the following month (February 2022).
The money the board uses to fund public services is made up of the board’s tax revenues, revenue generation including fees and charges, retained commercial rates, and any government funding. Thanet District Council receives only 13 pence for every £ 1 of municipal tax.