London Fire Brigade

Agenda item

2016/17 Budget Update - FEP 2551 A/B

Director of Finance and Contractual Services – report FEP2551 on the latest budget position.

(Resources Committee – 14 January 2016 decision attached.)

 

Commissioner and Director of Finance and Contractual Services - supplementary report FEP2551A  providing additional information,  presenting the key points of the Mayor’s Consolidated Budget for 2016/17, reporting on the outcome of the public consultation that took place between 7 December 2015 and 1 February 2016 and recommending proposals to achieve a balanced budget in 2016/17.

 

Minutes:

Report and supplementary report of the Commissioner and Director of Finance and Contractual Services. Second supplementary report of the Clerk to the Authority.

 

The Commissioner introduced the report and supplementary reports.

 

The Chairman moved the motion:

 

(1)               That the memo from the Resources Committee of 14 January 2016 and the report FEP 2551 be noted;

(2)               That, in order to achieve a balanced revenue budget for 2016/17, the Authority agrees the proposals set out in paragraphs 19 to 24 of the supplementary report FEP 2551A for Option B, which are summarised as follows:

·           A reduction of 13 appliances and associated establishment reductions.

 

·           An increase to the Fire Rescue Unit establishment of 56 Watch Manager A and 16 Firefighter posts.

 

·           A one off payment into the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) fund of £3.5m, which will result in an ongoing saving of £0.4m from 2017/18, subject to confirmation from the scheme actuary.

 

·           A one off investment into a community safety investment reserve of £1.0m, which would be spent by 31 March 2017;

 

(3)          That the Authority notes that the final decision on the 2016/17 budget, including the associated establishment changes and the capital programme, will be made by the Authority at its meeting in March 2016; and

           

(4)          That the Authority notes the letter from the Mayor’s Chief of Staff to the Chairman of LFEPA dated 11 February 2016 (as appended to the report FEP 2551B).

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor David Cartwright QFSM.

 

At 10.10am, the Chairman adjourned the meeting for five minutes in order to allow Members to read a motion that was proposed to be tabled in the name of Andrew Dismore AM, which it was noted would be formally moved should the Chairman’s motion fall. The Chairman explained that, in the interests of effective conduct of business, he would allow the debate to deal with both motions, noting that, at that point, only the Chairman's motion was formally before the meeting. The meeting resumed at 10.15am.

 

During the discussion on this item, the Chairman confirmed, in response to the query from Andrew Dismore AM outlined at Minute 2 above, that,  as set out in the supplementary report (FEP 2551B), the Mayor had now indicated that he was minded to direct the Authority on this matter and the Chairman had discussed that matter with him.

 

Following questions to the Commissioner and debate, the motion in the name of the Chairman was put to the vote. There were six (6) votes cast in favour of the motion and ten (10) votes cast against. The motion was declared to be lost. Councillor Maurice Heaster OBE requested that his vote in favour of the motion be recorded.

 

Andrew Dismore AM then moved the motion: That the Authority –

 

(1)               Takes note of the memorandum from the Resources Committee from its 14th January meeting; and in particular that:

The Committee believes that operational changes are best introduced, so far as possible, as part of a comprehensive package consequent on the outcome of the full LSP6 review to take effect in  the year 2017/18, and therefore considers that any operational changes for 2016/17 should be kept to the absolute minimum required to produce a balanced budget;

with which opinion the Authority concurs and considers to be achieved by option A;  notes that the savings target has been substantially reduced since first identified; and that option A produces a balanced budget for 2016/17;

(2)          Recognises and takes note of the overwhelming public support across London in the consultation for Option A;

(3)          Takes note that the Mayor is minded to direct the Authority to adopt option B as set out in his Chief of Staff’s letter of 11th February to the Chair;

(4)          Also notes, however, that the letter on behalf of the Mayor makes no direct response to the outcome of the public consultation nor the Resources Committee memorandum and does not respond to the arguments set out therein;

(5)          Therefore resolves that Option A should be adopted for the next financial year, as adjusted to reduce the level of cuts required as set out in paragraphs 15 to 18 of the supplementary report (FEP 2551A) , the effect of which on operational appliances will be:

a) to alternate crew 4 (instead of 5) aerial appliances and 2 OSUs;

b) to avoid the need for the original option A proposal to alternate crew some FRUs; and

c) to avoid the need to cut the 13 front line pumps as set out in option B;

(6)          Instructs officers to consider how further resources can be identified during the forthcoming year to create a one off payment into a Community Safety Investment Reserve, for example from any underspend in 2015/16; and

(7)          Instructs officers to advise the Mayor of these recommendations and to invite him to reconsider his proposed course of action in light of them.

The motion was seconded by Dr Fiona Twycross AM and put to the vote. There were ten (10) votes cast for the motion and six (6) votes cast against. The motion was declared to be carried.

Resolved – accordingly.

 

Supporting documents: