Councillors and committees
Issue - meetings
Revenue Support Grant
To update the Committee on the work being undertaken to achieve greater financial independence for Kingston and to ensure that the economic rewards of growth within the borough are retained for local benefit.
The Committee considered a report which set out the work being undertaken to achieve greater financial independence for the borough and to ensure that the economic rewards of growth were retained for local benefit.
Members noted that the Council had been engaged in dialogue with Central Government on the possibility of changes to the way in which the local government funding system applied to Kingston. Early indications were that the conditions were favourable for constructive discussions, taking advantage of the prevailing national agenda in favour of localism and devolution. Achieving a different balance of financial settlement had the potential to favourably impact on the medium term financial position. It also fundamentally linked to the Council’s aims for local democratic renewal. The freedom to make meaningful local decisions, including those relating to fiscal matters, was considered an intrinsic part of a vibrant local democracy.
The Council’s proposition to Government would be based on;
· retaining a greater share of tax raised in Kingston for the benefit for the borough
· Removing the current reliance on central government funding
· Piloting a model of self sufficient and autonomous local government
Members noted that the element of the Council’s funding which related to Business Rates was likely to perform much better over the medium term than the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) provided by Government. The lower the Council’s reliance on RSG the less exposed it would therefore be to the changes in local government funding as a result of the Government’s deficit reduction strategy.
The Council would continue to work with other boroughs in South London and across the capital to advance wider devolution of powers and public service reform. This would include exploration of a Business Rate Pool for South London which might of itself increase the amount of business rates retained in Kingston. Some external support would be engaged at modest cost to address some of the issues raised in the conversations with the Department for Communities and Local Government.
RESOLVED that –
1. The principle of financial independence for Kingston be endorsed;
2. The work undertaken on this issue to date be noted; and
3. The future work programme and continued contribution to South London and London-wide work on devolution be endorsed.
Voting – Unanimous