Hounslow Council

Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy

Report by Cllr Theo Dennison


Cllr Lambert introduced the Medium Term Financial Strategy that Cllr Dennison had submitted to the meeting.


The following discussion noted:


·         Members noted point 4.14 of the report regarding the overspend in Adult Social Care when a reserve had been set and questioned why there had been an overspend and whether there were plans for another precept this year. Cllr Dennison responded that due to the significant demand pressures in Adult Social Care in LBH and other Boroughs, there was an overspend. No precept has yet been set for 18/19. It will be set in February of next year and the MTFS indicates that there will be an increase of council tax by 1.99% percent and the MTFS is built around this.


·         Members sought clarification about what central government may be planning that may affect LBH and what contingencies are being planned. Cllr Dennison responded that information of that kind becomes known in December and LBH is working on the basis that there will be no significant change.


·         Questions were raised around Welfare reforms, housing and specifically families that have been put on Universal Credit and could end up homeless due to rent arrears, and what planning LBH has around this area. Cllr Dennison noted that LBH are pathfinders in the rollout of Universal Credit and changes do need to be made and its known that a significant number of Universal Credit recipients are in arrears in their rent and there is a proposal to increase the amount of assistance that the Council gives in respect to council tax assistance. Members raised concerns that the differences in amounts being paid from legacy benefits to Universal Credits are quite high. Cllr Curran stated that the Council is so concerned about the effects of Universal Credit, and particularly on families with children that the Minister has been written to and there is a related motion on the agenda for next Borough Council meeting.


·         Cllr Lambert raised the changes in rules proposed on homelessness legislation and what impact it will have on planning and the proposal that the local authority pay cap is to be removed. Members noted that what was needed was increasing homes provision and the temporary accommodation costs is unlikely to be reduced. Members noted regarding the pay cap, and its’ effects on salary estimates for 18/19, budgets may have to be adjusted.


·         Members raised questions around the report covering waste and the release of two existing Council waste sites and enquired what waste sites these referred to and whether one of these sites included Spaceway. Cllr Curran clarified that it does not include Spaceway.


·         Members discussed the proposals for the new build programme, specifically Year 2020/21 and observed that the Budget for that year moved to zero. Members discussed that the MTF strategy was based on the assumption that there would be future new build programming in future years beyond this.


·         The MTFS projects an overspend in the next financial year. Whilst taken seriously this was true last year, but by year’s end there was an underspend. Actions will be taken at a service level, departmental level and corporate level to bring that down. Members discussed the need for clear governance, oversight and performance measures to bring the overspend down.                                                                                                       


·         The Committee notes the report of the Medium Term Financial Strategy



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