Consultation on 2018/19 Draft Budget and Transformation Programme

This Consultation is open until February 1, 2018 at 5pm.

Government Funding
The Council is entering into the third year of a four year funding agreement with the Government. This means in 2018/19 and 2019/20 the Council will receive a known, but significantly declining, level of Government funding. This allows the Council to plan its finances for the next couple of years with greater certainty. However, by 2020/21, the Council expects all Government funding it receives to be withdrawn - a drop of approximately £4million.

Business Rates
Business rates income will become more important to all Councils in the future. Business rates are currently split between the Government, County Councils and District Councils. It is proposed that by 2020, 75% of growth in business rates will be retained at a local level. The working arrangements for this retention of business rates are still being developed. Next year the Council will also be piloting retention of 100% of business rates, along with eight other authorities in Greater Lincolnshire. The move away from Central Government funding should create greater financial autonomy and opportunities for growth in income. However, it may also create financial risks that need to be considered. For example, funding shortfalls that could arise from large business failures.

Transformation
The Council has continued to deliver its Transformation Programme which began in 2015/16. The programme provides focus to the Council in achieving significant savings. 32 of the 41 projects in the programme are now complete. The Council now needs to look for new ways to generate more income in the future.

Budget Consultation
By law the Council must set a balanced budget each year - this means expenditure must not exceed income. On January 10, 2018, the Council's Executive Board agreed to consult on its draft Budget for 2018/19 and associated financial strategies through to 2022/23. The Council is now requesting the views of local people and businesses on the content. Please read these documents before completing your consultation response.

The Budget for 2018/19 proposes:
- A Council Tax increase of £4.95p per year (for Band D homes this is equivalent to 9.5p per week). Around 58% of the ELDC proportion of Council Tax collected is provided to the Drainage Boards to improve and maintain water courses in the area.
- Additional income from commercial activities
- Ongoing savings arising from reduced expenditure on supplies and services, staffing and vehicle costs
- Increased capital investment in Council assets to help generate more income, reduce maintenance and other running costs and help deliver services more efficiently
- To support the Council's reserves to help protect against future volatility in business rates income, and
- Provide funding for economic development

The consultation can be completed online here

Once the consultation is completed the views of the community will be passed back to the Executive Board for consideration on February 14, 2018. A report will then go to Council on February 28, 2018 to agree the Budget for 2018/19.