South Hams finance chief warns of "great uncertainty"
A WARNING that the next financial year from April 2013 will be a period of “great financial uncertainty” was delivered to South Hams District Council following a Medium Term Financial Strategy Report.
The report, designed to help members in their strategic financial planning was delivered to South Hams Executive Committee by Lisa Buckle, Head of Finance and Audit on Thursday.
She said: “The financial year 2013-14 will be a period of great financial uncertainty for the Council with major new changes impacting on the Council at the same time.
“In April 2013 the new Business Rates retention scheme will be introduced.
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"Initial forecasts show the following levels of reduction in funding for the council are predicted: 2013/14 - a £70,000; 2014/15 - £349,000; 2015/16 - £115,000; 2016/17 - £66,000."
In addition to the Business Rates retention scheme being introduced, from April 1 2013, Council Tax Benefit will be abolished by Central Government and replaced by a local scheme known as Council Tax Support.
Predicted budget gaps for the council over the next four years are: 2013/14 - £393,000; 2014/15 - £540,000; 2015/16 - £527,000; 2016/17 - £462,000.
The Council has £2,630,000 pressures on its Capital Programme for the coming year. It is made up of capital Investment in existing assets (£1,660,000); Disabled Facilities Grants (£470,000), Private Sector Renewal Loans (£200,000) and £300,000 for contingency.
South Hams Executive Member for Finance Councillor Michael Hicks said: “The council’s difficulty comes from the fact that a number of broad principles have been published by Central Government and a lot of the detail will not be available until November/December, when the Draft Local Government Finance Report is published.
“We should all be prepared for continuing financial cut backs which are likely to be with us for quite some time.”