To consider proposed discretionary fees and charges for 2020/2021
Consideration was given to a report of the Chief Finance Officer detailing proposals following the annual review of discretionary fees and charges as part of the budget setting process.
At the meeting of Cabinet on 29 October 2020, Members approved an increase charges in line with inflation, with the exception to services relating to bereavement. After consultation with services, it was requested that inflation not be applied to the following areas:
· Car Parking – Budget Pressure funding had been provided to the service in previous financial years. It was considered that increasing the charges was likely to bring further financial pressures to the service.
· Facilities Management Charges – Budget Pressure funding had been provided to the service in previous financial years. Increasing the charges was likely to bring further financial pressures to the service.
· Taxi Licenses – There was an impending legal challenge of Local Authorities and, based on an extensive benchmarking exercise, it had been recommended that fees remain static to mitigate legal challenge and any cost award.
· Land Charges – Based on Greater Manchester benchmarking, there was a risk that by increasing the cost of search fees this will create future budget pressures.
· Liability Orders – In line with Government guidance, current charges cover the cost incurred. A further increase was not recommended.
· Music Service Charges – Based on a benchmarking exercise, charges amended to reflect competitive private tuition market.
· Food Hygiene Charges – Charges amended to ensure consistency with Greater Manchester. Careline/Support@Home – These Adult Care charges are subject to an ongoing tender exercise and will be reported to Cabinet in a separate paper.
· Town Hall Meeting Rooms – Due to closure of Town Hall in 2020, no uplifts have been applied.
The proposal to implement Replacement Bin Charges is subject to an ongoing public consultation ending in early February. Cabinet recommends the delegation of the implementation of any changes to Replacement Bin charges, to the Portfolio holder for Environment, the Portfolio holder for Finance, and the Service Director for Neighbourhoods, once the outcome of consultation was known. Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee raised concerns on the impact of charging for replacement bins on members of the public.
That Cabinet be advised the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee supports the proposed increase in discretionary fees and charges with the exception of the implementation of charges for replacement bins.