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To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 11 December 2018 as an accurate record.
The minutes of the meeting held on 11 December 2018 were agreed as an accurate record.
It was highlighted that the recommendation to provide Members with updates on Section 106 and Cil funding available in their Wards had not yet been implemented. The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources advised that the recommendation had been accepted by the Cabinet and work was underway to prepare information on the quarter three S106 and Cil awards.
It was agreed that going forward requests for information would be listed separately from recommendations to prevent delays in the requested information being circulated to Members.
Disclosure of Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.
There were none.
Urgent Business (if any)
To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no items of urgent business.
Question time with the Leader of the Council, Councillor Tony Newman.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Tony Newman, was in attendance at the meeting to provide an update for the Committee and answer questions arising. During the introduction to this item the following points were noted:-
· In light of ongoing cuts to the Council budget from central Government, the Administration had taken a clear view that the Budget proposals for 2019/20 would seek the maximum increase in both Council Tax and the Adult Social Care precept to continue to protect frontline funding.
· The redevelopment of the Fairfield Halls continued towards completion, with the venue due to reopen in September 2019.
· Work was underway on building the Legacy Onside Youth Zone, which once complete would have provision for 200 – 250 young people to use the facility every night of the week.
· Progress continued to be made on a number of different housing developments through Brick by Brick, with families from across the borough starting to move into properties as they were completed. Work was continuing on the redevelopment of the Taberner House site which would provide over 500 homes, 50% of which would be affordable.
· The Council continued to maintain ongoing investment into the Children’s Service following the disappointing results from an Ofsted inspection in July 2017. As a result the Service was starting to see improvement in performance data and was heading in the right direction. A key priority for the budget was to maintain the increased investment to ensure that the good work continued.
· There had initially been controversy over changes made to bins as part of the Sustainable Croydon project, but the change was required if the Council was to achieve its targeted recycling rate of 50%.
· Croydon’s Violence Reduction Unit was a priority for the Administration as part of its work for Safer Croydon.
· The Council had recently been awarded funding of £500,000 to help to develop a Creative Enterprise Zone in the borough. Work was also underway on the Music City project which would give recognition to the music coming out of Croydon, as well as the musical heritage of the borough.
· The Sustainable City project was aimed at ensuring that growth in the borough provided benefits to the residents of Croydon. The project covered a wide range of factors including the need to create sustainable jobs and transport as well as environmental measures. The key challenge for the Council was to ensure that infrastructure in the borough matched the growth.
It was noted that the Government’s review of Fair Funding was due to conclude in February and as such it was questioned what the Council could do to ensure that the funding issues facing itself and other outer London borough were addressed. The Leader highlighted that the Fair Funding Campaign in Croydon had always received cross party support. A strong case had been made to the review on behalf of Croydon, with the initial indication being encouraging that outer London boroughs may come out in a better position than at present, but this was ... view the full minutes text for item 4/19
To discuss the Administration’s Budget Proposals for 2019 – 2020.
The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, Councillor Simon Hall introduced the report with a summary of the key points of the budget in the year ahead. It was noted that the financial landscape for local government continued to be challenging, with the outlook for beyond April 2020 unknown at the present time. From the introduction, the following points were noted.
· There were no material changes to the Local Government Settlement, which had seen our funding from government fall by 6.5% as predicted.
· There was an assumption in the Budget that Council Tax would rise by 3%, the Adult Social Care Precept would also rise by 3% and the Greater London Authority were planning to raise the Police Precept by £24 per annum.
· Nationally £180m had been released to local authorities from the Central Business Rate Account, with £1.1m of this awarded to Croydon.
· The budget for 2019/2020 was balanced, but in the Medium Term Financial Strategy it was predicted that there would be a £20m gap in funding in the subsequent two years.
· Substantial growth in demand was predicted in the services for the people of the borough and in particular vulnerable residents. £12m had been allocated to Children’s Services, £10.2m to Adult Social Care and £3.2m to the Gateway Service to account for the growth in demand.
· Within the budget there was an assumption that there would be a rise in income from car parking and also through investing in assets, such as the recently purchased Colonades. It was also proposed to transfer property owned by the Council to the pension fund to reduce the cash contribution on the fund deficit.
· Brexit and the impact it would have upon both the local and national economy was a significant unknown risk to the budget.
· The Capital Programme included provision for a new Special Educational Needs School, which would help to reduce the reliance on the private sector. There were also plans to deliver £150m of affordable housing, investment in the Growth Zone, a new leisure centre in New Addington and investment in libraries across the borough.
It was questioned whether representations were being made on behalf of Croydon to the Fair Funding Consultation. In response it was advised that representations were being made on both a national and regional level, as well as individual representation on the circumstances specific to Croydon, such as Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children.
It was questioned how the budget would be impacted if Council Tax was not increased by the planned 3%. It was advised that should Council Tax remain at its current level, an additional £7m would need to be found within the budget which was likely to mean there would be a significant impact upon services provided to residents.
It was confirmed that the Council was on track to save £1m over half a year from the new Waste and Recycling contract. This had been extrapolated for a full year and used as a basis for the assumed income from the contract for ... view the full minutes text for item 5/19
To consider the Committee’s Work Programme for the remainder of the municipal year.
It was confirmed that the Chair of the Children & Young People Sub-Committee would provide the Annual Report of the Sub-Committee at the Scrutiny & Overview Committee meeting scheduled for 30 April 2019.
It was highlighted that new guidance for scrutiny was expected to be published by the Government later this month and as such an item on this may need to be scheduled for a future meeting.
The Work Programme was noted.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:
“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”
This motion was not needed.