The council’s Executive approved the draft budget proposals for 2017/18 at its meeting on 23 January. The full proposals are available to download below:
We are now consulting on those proposals and welcome your views. Your responses will help inform the decisions that are made at the end of February.
In recent years the council has experienced unprecedented financial challenges in various forms, and at the same time the basis on which local government is funded has undergone radical reform, with a new system where local government is funded from local income streams with limited reliance on central government.
In response to these financial challenges the council continues to deliver a track record of strong financial discipline. Planning ahead, securing savings in advance, re-investing in more efficient ways of working, adopting a more commercial approach, prioritising resources for economic development measures, while making careful use of reserves to meet funding gaps and mitigate risks, is an approach that has served the council well. This has allowed the council to deliver annual savings of more than £7.3 million since 2009 through its financial sustainability programme. Despite this success the council still needs to continue to act prudently and will need to deliver further savings of £700,000 to achieve its current target by 2018/19.
Throughout the delivery of £7.3 million annual savings, the council’s successful financial management has enabled the protection of core services for the people of Lincoln while at the same time allowing the redirection of resources to the priority areas in the council’s new Vision 2020.
This new vision is supported by a three-year programme of activity, resourced through the Medium Term Financial Strategy, that seeks to not only deal with the most pressing issues in the city, but also sets out how the council will work, with others, to further grow Lincoln’s economy through larger scale growth and regeneration schemes such as the Transport Hub and New Council House Building Programme.
This investment in growth, alongside the council’s financial sustainability programme, with a key focus on income generation while ensuring council tax increases are kept to an acceptable level, forms the foundations of the council’s approach to financial planning over the medium term, seeking to enhance its financial resilience and to continue to focus its resources towards achieving its aspirations in its Vision 2020.
Council tax and rents
This year we are proposing a council tax increase of 1.91%.
Most of the council tax that you pay goes to Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, and therefore the overall increase depends on their decisions. At £172.92 and £201.74 for a Band A and Band B property this equates to an annual increase for 80 per cent of the properties in Lincoln of between £3.33 and £3.88 - an average of 7 pence a week.
For those who live in council houses or flats, we have no choice but to follow Central Government policy and reduce rents by 1%. While this represents good news in terms of weekly rents paid by tenants, it will does have a detrimental effect on the council’s overall resources for its housing stock.
The provision of council housing is a separate, ring-fenced function and is funded entirely from rents, rather than the council tax.
The current average rent for Lincoln tenants is around £69.54 per week. A 1% rent reduction amounts to approximately 69 pence a week
How to respond
Your views and comments through this consultation will help to form the final proposals and a formal decision will be made by Full Council on 28 February 2017. Please submit your responses either by email or in writing by Monday 13 February 2017, giving your name and address and (if applicable) the organisation that you represent.
Chief Financial Officer
The full report and draft Medium Term Financial Strategy 2017-22 that was approved by the council’s Executive is available on the council’s website here.