Council services by letter

Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2, Harrow Civic Centre, Station Road, Harrow, HA1 2XY. View directions

Contact: Una Sullivan, Democratic and Electoral Services Officer  Tel: 020 8424 1785 E-mail:  una.sullivan@harrow.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.

 

Reserve Members may attend meetings:-

 

(i)                 to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;

(ii)               where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and

(iii)             the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;

(iv)              if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note the attendance of the following duly constituted Reserve Members:

 

Ordinary Member

 

Reserve Member

Councillor Kam Chana

Councillor Pritesh Patel

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:

 

(a)               all Members of the Panel;

(b)               all other Members present.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that the following interests were declared:

 

Agenda Item 8 – Information Report – Draft Revenue Budget 2015-16, Medium Term Financial Strategy 2015-16 and Capital Programme 2015-16 to 2018-19

 

CouncillorPritesh Patel declared a non-pecuniary interest in that he was a director of a company with premises in Harrow.  He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered.

 

CouncillorBharat Thakker declared a non-pecuniary interest in that his wife had a legal practice in Harrow.  He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered.

3.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

To consider the appointment of a Vice-Chair for the remainder of the Municipal Year 2014-15.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To appoint Councillor Jeff Anderson as Vice-Chair of the Harrow Business Consultative Panel for the remainder of the 2014/2015 Municipal Year.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 83 KB

That the minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2014 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2014, be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

5.

Public Questions, Petitions & Deputations

To receive any public questions received in accordance with Executive Procedure Rule 50 (Part 4D of the Constitution).

 

Questions will be asked in the order notice of them was received and there be a time limit of 15 minutes.

 

[The deadline for receipt of public questions is 3.00 pm, Thursday 22 January 2015.  Questions should be sent to publicquestions@harrow.gov.uk  

No person may submit more than one question].

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no public questions were put or petitions or deputations received at this meeting

RESOLVED ITEMS

6.

INFORMATION REPORT - Draft Revenue Budget 2015/16, Medium Term Financial Strategy 2015/16 to 2017/18 and Capital Programme 2015/16 to 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Report of the Director of Finance and Assurance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received a report of the Director of Finance and Assurance which set out the Council’s proposals for the draft Revenue Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2015-16 to 2017-18 and the Draft Capital Programme 2015-16 to 2018-19 for consultation.

 

The Chair welcomed local business representatives to the meeting and explained that it was a statutory requirement that the Council consulted with the business community before setting the budget and Council Tax for the forthcoming year.

 

In response to an enquiry, the Director of Finance and Assurance confirmed that small businesses could be entitled to discounts and exemptions in respect of business rates, and described the criteria governing these.

 

The Chair advised that bills for business rates would be issued at the end of February, and that the funds were passed directly to government, apart from 20% which the Council was now entitled to retain, following a change in the rules introduced a year ago.  Discounts and exemptions for businesses were determined by government in a national scheme.

 

He further advised that the Council’s controllable budget would be reduced by £25m over each of the coming three years, resulting in revenue being reduced by half, despite increasing burdens on the Council’s statutory and discretionary budgets.  He stated that the Council had opted to retain the Economic Development Team as it was considered important to support and promote local businesses for the benefit of residents and the wider community.  Councillors had moved from choosing where to direct funds and prioritising services, to identifying which services could be cut or reduced with the least negative impact.

 

In response to a query, he said that he did not think the result of the forthcoming general election would necessarily change the economic situation for the Council.  In the light of this, he believed it was important to change attitudes about what Council’s could and should do, and the public could no longer assume a particular function was the Council’s responsibility.  Statutory obligations would have to be discharged, and monies were often ring-fenced for this, but discretionary services would need to be looked at carefully and prioritised.

 

In response to a question, the Director of Finance and Assurance explained that the funding formula was highly complex, and that Harrow received less in funding grants than many of its neighbours.  There was a range of reasons for this, from the deprivation index to the amount of green space within the borough.  When deciding where to introduce charges for certain services, it was helpful to benchmark among other authorities.

 

He informed those present that the draft budget would go to cabinet for consideration on 19 February, and to Council for decision on 26 February.  He reminded business representatives that the public could attend meetings and hear the debate.

Business representatives commented that it was easier to understand the need for cuts once the financial situation was explained, and the Council’s priorities were outlined.  The Chair added that sometimes the scale of reduction required in a service  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.