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Green Party budget amendment in full

The Sheffield Star reported that the Green Party had made a budget amendment to install solar panels on council houses. In fact our budget amendment was much more comprehensive than this, so we reprint it here in full.It is indeed a budget proposal for a council that listens, but unfortunately it was voted down by the Labour Councillors.

4councillors2015Amendment to be moved by Councillor Rob Murphy, seconded by Councillor Aodan Marken

That the recommendations of the Cabinet held on 17th February, 2016, as relates to the City Council’s Revenue Budget and Capital Programme 2016/17, be replaced by the following resolution:-

RESOLVED: That this Council:

(1) deplores the cuts to local authority funding being imposed by central government and applauds the efforts of politicians and campaigners calling for an alternative to austerity;

(2) thanks the officers of the Council and in other organisations directly affected by the austerity programme in the way they have responded to the cuts and made sacrifices;

(3) notes that, this year, over £9 million of additional cuts are needed because of pressures and additional spending, which we believe arises from the lack of flexibility in long-term outsourced contracts with just two private companies, specifically the Waste Management and Streets Ahead contracts;

(4) further notes the intention of Government to reduce the main source of local authority funding, the Revenue Support Grant, to nil and to switch funding to business rates in their own areas, a move which will favour more affluent areas of the country;

(5) therefore recognises that austerity is not going to go away and that Elected Members in Sheffield, however difficult the crisis we face, have a responsibility to do the best they can for the people of Sheffield, prioritising the available resources to protect communities and the most vulnerable and working towards a more equitable and resilient city;

(6) believes that the people of this city want a Council that listens to them and takes their genuinely-expressed concerns into account;

(7) therefore, will open up Council meetings to public scrutiny by online web broadcasting;

(8) will cut political spin emanating from the Town Hall by cutting the posts of Group Policy Officers and requiring politicians to do their own research and press work;

(9) will install a maximum 10:1 pay ratio between the highest and lowest paid Council officers, closing the gap by reducing the pay of those on the highest salaries over £50,000 a year;

(10) will further reduce up to 2 posts in the HR Service to protect frontline services;

(11) will reduce cuts to services for the older and disabled people and help ensure decent pay and conditions for care staff, putting an extra £253k into adult social care;

(12) regrets not having taken up the option of a significant investment in jobs in the renewable energy industry when proposed in 2014, to reduce fuel bills and create an income stream for other services, and also regrets abandoning the subsequent scheme adopted in 2015 once the Government reduced support for renewable energy in favour of dirty sources such as nuclear, diesel and fracking;

(13) believes, however, this Council can use the economies of scale available to it and will invest in a further scheme of solar panel installation on the Council’s housing stock by re-prioritising capital funding within the Housing Revenue Account;

(14) will create or maintain further jobs by setting aside unallocated New Homes Bonus funding to identify and survey brownfield sites for re-use for new housing and business, so as to minimise the impact of new building on the green belt or those brownfield sites that provide particular benefits to wildlife or the local community;

(15) will also create jobs by setting aside further unallocated New Homes Bonus funding to invest in a fund for energy efficiency schemes in maintained schools;

(16) will put further resources into turning empty properties into much needed homes by investing a small amount of New Homes Bonus funding in further enforcement work in this area, which will in turn generate increased NHB funding as homes are brought back into occupation;

(17) will also reverse the proposed cut in private sector housing, in order to ensure higher standards in this sector;

(18) will use the £523,000 one-off sum from the Council’s 2015/16 underspend to:

(i) develop proposals to introduce a workplace parking scheme, to improve air quality and generate further revenue for public transport investment;

(ii) develop proposals to offer more policing and services related to the night-time economy by ensuring high-value businesses make an appropriate contribution to social costs through use of a night-time levy scheme;

(iii) double the sum available for discretionary spending by councillors on small-scale ward-level projects;

(iv) increase the hardship fund to £1m to alleviate the impact of increased Council Tax bills, in particular on the 30,000 lowest income households affected by the loss of Council Tax Benefit and that have seen by far the biggest increase in Council Tax in recent years; and

(v) will invest £20k of the Local Growth Fund (New Homes Bonus) to install solar panels on the Park Centre as part of its roof renovations, thereby reducing fuel bills and increasing the sustainability of the building;

(19) will reduce the price of permits in parking permit zones to 2010 levels by shifting the cost of parking in these residential PPZ to non-residents, meaning that people living in some of the most congested and polluted areas of the city are not subsidising other transport services;

(20) further, will prioritise the installation of 20mph zones in areas with the worst road safety accident statistics and, therefore, will re-prioritise funding available in the Local Transport Plan programme to a default 20mph speed limit in the city centre;

(21) recognises the importance of children learning to use public transport safely and therefore will provide funds to mitigate the impact of the 10p rise in children’s bus fares;

(22) will forego any increase in Members’ allowances;

(23) therefore requests the Interim Executive Director, Resources to implement the City Council’s Revenue Budget and Capital Programme 2016/2017 in accordance with the details set out in the reports on the Revenue Budget and Capital Programme now submitted, but with the following amendments:-

Revenue Budget

Savings proposals
Permanent reduction in spending:
£’000
Reduce pay on employees paid over £150,000 by 20% (assume 6 month saving) 24
Reduce pay on employees paid over £100,000 by 15% (assume 6 month saving) 59
Reduce pay on employees paid over £50,000 by 10% (assume 6 month saving) 475
Use of New Homes Bonus (to fund enforcement officer to bring empty homes back into use) 35
Use of New Homes Bonus (to fund additional post in Private Sector Housing currently funded through Public Health) 24
Remove all group policy officer posts 91
Removal of further 2 posts in HR 100
Introduce increased on-street parking fees in PPZs (i.e. 30p increase over and above saving proposed in BIP) 405
Revenue saving sub-total 1,212
Spending proposals
Permanent additions to budget:
£’000
Parking permit fees reduced to 2010 levels 297
Mitigate the impact on Sheffield children & young people of the decision to increase child concessionary single fares from 70p to 80p 440
Webcasting of all Full Council, Budget & Scrutiny meetings 30
Additional enforcement officer post to bring empty homes back into use 35
Additional post in Private Sector Housing 24
Supporting the review of individual care packages to maintain quality of care across Communities 253
Establish discretionary fund for grants to encourage zero or low-emission taxi vehicles 5
Reverse proposed cuts to investment in the Alcohol Strategy [p160, F6] 128
Revenue spending sub-total 1,212

Capital Budget

Capital spending proposal: £’000
Investment in solar panels on 2000 council houses  6,052
Financing of capital proposal:
Re-prioritise use of capital funding within HRA to fund the majority of the investment in solar panels on 2000 council houses 5,052
Use of New Homes Bonus to fund the remainder of the investment in solar panels on 2000 council houses  1000
Capital spending proposal:
20’s Plenty City Centre scheme 262
Financing of capital proposal:
Re-prioritise Local Transport Plan Programme set aside for 20mph speed limit schemes  156
Use of part of 2015/16 projected revenue underspend to cover part of the cost of the 20’s Plenty City Centre scheme  106
Capital spending proposal:
Install solar panels as part of roof replacement programme at Park Centre  20
Financing of capital proposal:
Use of part of 2015/16 projected revenue underspend to cover cost of installing solar panels at Park Centre  20
Capital spending proposal:
Establishment of fund to prepare brownfield sites for redevelopment 500
Financing of capital proposal:
Use of New Homes Bonus to establish fund to prepare brownfield sites for redevelopment 500
Capital spending proposal:
Energy efficiency for schools fund 500
 Financing of capital proposal:
Use of New Homes Bonus to establish fund for energy efficiency schemes in schools 500
Capital spending total 7,334
Financing of capital proposals total 7,334

Use of 2015/16 projected revenue underspend

Savings proposals
Temporary reductions in spending:
£’000
Use of 2015/16 projected revenue underspend (The carry forward from the 2015/16 budget is subject to approval by Cabinet at its meeting on 9 March 2016. If this carry forward is not approved by Cabinet the amount will be met from Reserves) 397
Use of projected revenue underspend sub-total 397
Spending proposals
Temporary additions to budget:
£’000
Developing proposals to introduce a workplace parking scheme 100
Feasibility study into late night levy scheme 25
Double the amount available for discretionary spending by local 72
area partnerships for 2016/17 only
Further increase of £200k to the Council Tax Hardship Fund for 2016/17 only 200
One-off spending proposals sub-total 397

(24) notes those specific projects included in the years 2016/17 to 2021/22 Capital Programmes at Appendix 9 of the report on the Capital Programme, subject to the amendments outlined in paragraph (23) above, and that block allocations are included within the Programme for noting at this stage and detailed proposals will be brought back for separate Member approval as part of the monthly monitoring procedures;

(25) notes the proposed Capital Programme for the 5 years to 2021/22 as per Appendix 9 of the report on the Capital Programme, subject to the amendments outlined in paragraph (23) above;

(26) approves the Corporate Resource Pool (CRP) policy outlined in Appendix 4 of the report on the Capital Programme such that the commitment from the CRP is limited to one year and no CRP supported schemes are approved beyond 2016- 17 unless explicitly stated, and that further reports will be brought to Members as part of the monthly approval process should the receipts position improve;

(27) after noting the joint report of the Chief Executive and the Interim Executive Director, Resources now submitted on the Revenue Budget 2016/17, approves and adopts a net Revenue Budget for 2016/17 amounting to £406.492m, as set out in Appendix 3 of that report, and subsequently amended in the light of paragraph (23) above, as follows:-

Appendix 3

Summary Revenue Budget

Original Budget 2015/16   Original Budget 2016/17
£000 £000
Portfolio budgets:
65,980 Children Young People and Families 66,258
156,215 Communities 154,103
126,520 Place 129,475
2,292 Policy Performance and Communications 1,801
54,135 Resources 52,033
405,142 403,669
Corporate Budgets:
Specific Grants
-12,399 NHS Funding -12,399
-73,442 PFI Grant -74,601
-7,738 New Homes Bonus (LGF) -9,323
-1,916 Business Rates Transitional Grant -1,490
-2,500 Small Business Rates Relief -2,880
-100 Empty New Build Relief (ENBR) 0
-500 Retail Relief (RR) 0
-53 Local Support Services Grant 0
-2,216 Independent Living Fund -2,216
Corporate Items
8,200 Redundancy Provision 8,200
-17,289 Pension Costs -18,846
6,391 New Homes Bonus (LGF) 8,405
-2,000 Public Health Savings / re-investments -698
3,000 Contingency – Adults Social Care Pressures 4,555
24,913 Schools and Howden PFI 25,094
1,400 Infrastructure Investment in NRQ / St Pauls Place 600
34 Payment to Parish Councils 27
300 ICT Refresh 300
-1,783 CAPITA Contract Savings* 0
0 Better Care Fund -9,300
0 Pension Deficit Payment 80,100
3,327 Other 1,267
37,184 Capital Financing costs 31,995
28,073 MSF capital financing costs 28,199
28,032 Contribution to Reserves -54,166
424,060 Total Expenditure 406,492
Financing of Net Expenditure
-115,837  Revenue Support Grant  -90,592
-105,661  NNDR/Business Rates Income  -106,566
 -28,883  Business Rates Top Up Grant  -29,124
 -170,379  Council Tax income  -176,467
-3,300  Collection Fund surplus  -283
0 Social Care Precept  -3,460
-424,060  Total Financing  -406,492

* The total Capita savings for 2016/17 are £3.4m but are reflected as a budget reduction within the Resources portfolio instead of a Corporate Saving.

** The Communities portfolio budget includes £131.1m for Adult Social Care (ASC) in 2015/16. The ASC budget will increase by £3.5m in 2016/17, funded by the social care precept.

(28) approves a Band D equivalent Council Tax of £1,360.48 for City Council services, i.e. an increase of 3.99% (1.99% City Council increase and 2% national arrangement for the social care precept);

(29) approves the Revenue Budget allocations and Budget Implementation Plans for each of the services, as set out in Appendix 2 of the Revenue Budget report, subject to the amendments outlined in paragraph (23) above;

(30) notes the latest 2015/16 budget monitoring position;

(31) approves the Treasury Management and Annual Investment Strategies set out in Appendix 7 of the Revenue Budget report and the recommendations contained therein;

(32) approves the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Statement set out in Appendix 7 of the Revenue Budget report;

(33) agrees that authority be delegated to the Director of Finance to undertake Treasury Management activity, to create and amend appropriate Treasury Management Practice Statements and to report on the operation of Treasury Management activity on the terms set out in these documents;

(34) agrees that the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2013/14 and onwards, approved on 15th May, 2013, and implemented for 2014/15 and for 2015/16, be also implemented for 2016/17;

(35) agrees to forego an annual increase in the Members’ Allowances in 2016/17;

(36) approves a Pay Policy for 2016/17 as set out in Appendix 8 of the Revenue Budget report, subject to the amendment outlined in paragraph (23) above relating to the reduction in pay for employees paid over £150k, £100k and £50k of 20%, 15% and 10% respectively;

(37) delegates authority to the Director of Public Health and the Interim Executive Director, Resources, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, to approve the final allocation of Public Health grant to portfolios in 2016/17;

(38) approves the proposed amount of compensation to Parish Councils for the loss of council tax income in 2016/17 at the levels shown in the table below Page 32 paragraph 168 of the Revenue Budget report;

(39) notes the precepts issued by local parish councils which add £503,423 to the calculation of the budget requirement in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992;

(40) notes the information on the precepts issued by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, together with the impact of these on the overall amount of Council Tax to be charged in the City Council’s area;

(41) notes that, based on the estimated expenditure level of £406.492m set out in paragraph (27) above, the amounts shown in Appendix 6b below would be calculated by the City Council for the year 2016/17, in accordance with Sections 30 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992;

Appendix 6a

CITY OF SHEFFIELD CALCULATION OF RECOMMENDED COUNCIL TAX FOR 2016/17 REVENUE BUDGET

The Council is recommended to resolve as follows:

1. It be noted that on 15th January 2016, the Council calculated the Council Tax Base 2016/17

(a) for the whole Council area as: 132,253.72 (item T in the formula in Section 31B of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended (the “Act”)); and

(b) for dwellings in those parts of its area to which a Parish precept relates as in the attached Appendix 6c.

2. Calculate that the Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2016/17 (excluding Parish precepts) is: £ 179,927,895.

3. That the following amounts be calculated for the year 2016/17 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Act:

(a) £1,369,647,044 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2) of the Act taking into account all precepts issued to it by Parish Councils.

(b) £1,189,215,727 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3) of the Act.

(c) £180,431,317 being the amount by which the aggregate at 3(a) above exceeds the aggregate at 3(b) above, calculated by the Council in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act as its Council Tax requirement for the year (item R in the formula in Section 31B of the Act).

(d) £1,364.2816 being the amount at 3(c) above (Item R), all divided by item T (1(a) above), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year (including Parish Precepts).

(e) £503,423 being the aggregate amount of all special items (Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34(1) of the Act (as per the attached Appendix 6b).

(f) £1,360.4751 being the amount at 3(d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at 3(e) above by Item T (1(a) above), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 34(2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its area to which no Parish precept relates.

4. To note that the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Fire and Rescue Authority have issued precepts to the Council in accordance with Section 40 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 for each category of dwellings in the Council’s area as indicated in the table below.

5. £3,460,485 The amount set by the authority at 2 above, under Section 30 of the Act, includes an amount attributable to the adult social care precept.

6. That the Council, in accordance with Sections 30 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, hereby sets the aggregate amounts shown in the tables below as the amounts of Council Tax for 2016/17 for each part of its area and for each of the categories of dwellings.

Sheffield City Council (non-parish areas) Valuation Band

Band A
Sheffield City Council 906.98
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority 45.09
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 102.11
Aggregate of Council tax requirements 1,054.18
Band B
Sheffield City Council 1,058.15
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority 52.60
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 119.12
Aggregate of Council tax requirements 1,229.87
Band C
Sheffield City Council 1,209.31
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority 60.12
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 136.14
Aggregate of Council tax requirements 1,405.57
Band D
Sheffield City Council 1,360.48
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority 67.63
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 153.16
Aggregate of Council tax requirements 1,581.27
Band E
Sheffield City Council 1,662.80
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority 82.66
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 187.20
Aggregate of Council tax requirements 1,932.66
Band F
Sheffield City Council 1,965.13
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority 97.69
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 221.23
Aggregate of Council tax requirements 2,284.05
Band G
Sheffield City Council 2,267.46
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority 112.72
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 255.27
Aggregate of Council tax requirements 2,635.45
Band H
Sheffield City Council 2,720.95
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority 135.26
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 306.32
Aggregate of Council tax requirements 3,162.53

7. The Council’s basic amount of Council Tax is not excessive in accordance with the principles approved under Section 52ZB of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, therefore no referendum is required.

For details of the Parish areas (Bradfield, Ecclesfield and Stocksbridge) please see the full document here. (page 35)

Topics: Aodan Marken, Brian Webster, Budget, City Ward, Council, Councillors, Cuts, Education, General, Poverty, Road safety, Rob Murphy, Sarah Jane Smalley

There is One Response to Green Party budget amendment in full

30th May 2016

A well thought out and fairer budget than Labours. The £91,000 for policy advisors, £130,000 council is going to be spending on two new assistant directors being recruited at present (adverts are on council website) along with scrapping contributions towards the failed seven stone project and/or projected underspend should be reinvested in restaffing libraries. The savings to restaff community libraries are there. Not doing so is more a political decision from Labour in order to fund their half baked regeneration schemes. In short council should look to save on Policy Advisors, freezing recruitment of senior management and look for alternatives to their wholesale demolition approach to city centre regeneration. Library staff are more important than any of these.

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