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Meetings

Meeting Details

Ealing Business Partnership
7 Feb 2017 - 19:00 to 21:00
  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Declarations of Interests
  • Visitors

Documents

Agenda

Standard Items
1 Introduction and Welcome
   
Andrew Dakers opened the meeting, welcoming those present.
2 Apologies for Absence
  
Councillor Ahmed-Shaikh
3 Urgent Matters
  

Item 09 – Budget 2017/18

Pursuant to Section 5 of the Access to Information rules, the proper officer has agreed that this report cannot reasonably wait until the next meeting of the Ealing Business Partnership and may be published less than five clear working days prior to this meeting. The Council has a statutory duty to consult the Ealing Business Partnership by no later than 21 February on the 2017/18 Budget. The Ealing Business Partnership meeting is scheduled for 7 February (which is the only available date before Council on 21 February) so that the Partnership can consider the budget and their views can be taken into account by Council on 21 February.

The Ealing Business Partnership report has to include information that is up to date and relevant and also include information provided externally from the Greater London Authority and the Government so that the Ealing Business Partnership can make an informed judgement and express their views. This information has only recently become available so it was not possible to prepare and publish the report earlier

4 Declarations of Interest
To note any declarations of interest made by members.
     
There were none.
5 Matters to be Considered in Private
  
There were none.
6 Minutes of the Previous Meeting and Matters Arising
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 20th October 2016.
   

Resolved:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2016 be agreed as a true and correct record, subject to the following corrections:

Page 1 - To add Councillor G Stafford to the list of those present.

Page 1 – Item 5 – to note Mr J Gallagher’s declaration of interest due to him being in the process of applying to the Council for a club premises licence at the time.

7 Smart Business Grants - Presentation (5 mins, incl. Q & A)
(Andrew Jackson, Energy Officer)
  

Andrew Jackson, Energy Officer, gave a short presentation on Smart Business Grants explaining that the scheme offered free and impartial advice to help businesses cut utility costs, boost resource efficiency and remain competitive. Grant funding was available to implement projects which achieve these aims. The grant application process was simple and straightforward and a decision would be made within one month of application.

For further information or to book a free survey, businesses could contact the energy officer on 020 8825 9394 or businessenergy@ealing.gov.uk

Resolved

i) That the presentation be noted.

ii) EBP attendees would encourage local businesses to consider the scheme.

iii) Andrew Jackson was thanked for his informative presentation.

8 Business Rate Changes - Presentation (15 mins, incl. Q & A)
(Nick Rowe, Strategic Finance Partner – Local Tax and Accounts Receivable)
   

Nick Rowe gave a presentation on the changes to Business Rates explaining that this was a revaluation year. Anyone with difficulty paying their rates should contact the Local Authority for advice and guidance at an early stage. Currently 50% of business rates are passed back to the government with Ealing retaining 30% and the GLA receiving 20%. The Government announced that authorities will be allowed to keep the rates they collect with a proposed timeline of 2020; however it is anticipated that there may be a scheme of tariffs, transfers and top-ups introduced; a second consultation was due in April 2017.

The discount scheme for the London Living Wage was being extended by one year, subject to full Council approval.

Nick Rowe took questions from the floor including:

Q - If Ealing retained the Business rates, would there be additional funding?

A – It was unlikely that there would be additional funding through this scheme, appeals were currently funded by the government.

Q – Relief for public toilets?

A – The Government intends to introduce the necessary legislation to enable local authorities to use their existing discretionary relief powers to support publicly owned public toilets from 1 April 2018.

Q – How would the government compensate the Local Authority if it only retains 30% of business rates.

A – The government had not yet announced what arrangements would replace the current RSG scheme.

Q – Was it likely that by 2020 Ealing would be able to retain the rates paid?

A – London Councils had called for this power but it was unlikely that each borough would retain all rates collected by them. There would be a further consultation paper in April and this would be circulated to the Ealing Business Partnership group.

Resolved

i) That the presentation be noted.

ii) Nick Rowe was thanked for his informative presentation.

iii) The consultation paper due in April would be circulated to the Ealing Business Partnership group.

iv) The EBP Chair/ Vice-chair would support the Council where helpful in conveying to London Councils, City Hall and Government the concerns of local businesses at their ability to absorb these rises in Business Rates.

9 Hot Topic 1 - Budget 2017-18 (to follow)
(Ross Brown, Director of Finance)

9a - Presentation (15 mins)
9b - Table Discussions about the Budget (20 mins)
9c - Feedback, Summaries and Next Steps from Table Discussions (10 mins)
   
Pursuant to Section 5 of the Access to Information rules, the proper officer has agreed that this report cannot reasonably wait until the next meeting of the Ealing Business Partnership and may be published less than five clear working days prior to this meeting. The Council has a statutory duty to consult the Ealing Business Partnership by no later than 21st February on the 2017/18 Budget.  The Ealing Business Partnership meeting is scheduled for 7th February (which is the only available date before Council on 21st February) so that the Partnership can consider the budget and their views can be taken into account by Council on 21st February. 

The Ealing Business Partnership report has to include information that is up to date and relevant and also include information provided externally from the Greater London Authority and the Government so that the Ealing Business Partnership can make an informed judgement and express their views.  This information has only recently become available so it was not possible to prepare and publish the report earlier.
 

Ross Brown (Director of Finance) and Cllr Johnson (Portfolio Holder for Finance and Performance and Customer Services) gave a presentation on the Budget 2017-18.

The report provided details of the savings in Ealing's revenue budgets for 2017/18, which have already been reported to Cabinet in November 2016, and invited Ealing Business Partnership to express their views on the budget, which would reflect the final budget position being considered at Cabinet on 14 February 2017 and Council on 21 February 2017.

Councillor Johnson announced the balanced budget for 17/18 with a 2% council tax increase for the social care precept and one-off use of reserves (over £9m). Councillor Johnson thanked officers for all their work throughout the year in achieving the balanced budget.

Councillor Stafford asked how much controllable reserves the Council currently had. Councillor Johnson replied that the reserves amounted to approximately £50m but some of this needed to be set aside.

It was noted that Adult Social Services required £58m and the question was raised whether this included the 2% increase. Councillor Johnson confirmed that this figure did include the 2% increase but that the Council would also spend a further £13m on adult social care. It was stressed that the 2% increase in Council tax was just for the adult social care precept, and that it was a legal requirement for this precept to be used on adult social care.

Attendees were then given the opportunity to break into small groups for table discussion. 

Feedback

In relation to appeals, it was noted that while appeals were outstanding the Council could only collect at the old rates. The Council would also be subject to an increase in business rates on their premises across the borough. The group did consider whether there should be a disincentive to appealing automatically, however it was important that there was a national safety net.

The suggestion was put forward that the Council utilise local businesses with skills for example a nutritionalist.

Concern was expressed that refuse collection was geared to shop rates rather than business rates.

Businesses present, expressed surprise of the size of the adult social care budget as a proportion of total council expenditure.

The question was raised about the impact of Crossrail on ratable values. It was explained that the ratable values would not be changed for the next five years. The multiplier would increase along with inflation.

The group did not think that small businesses would be impacted too much but had concerns if there would be a large increase in rates in the coming years.

Concern was expressed about the impact of rates changing on businesses that were already facing pressures and there was concern about the sustainability of some firms with this additional pressure.

(Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Director of Finance)
     
Presentation and discussion

10a - EBP Objectives Review (10 mins)
10b - Key themes for 2017/18 (10 mins)
10c - Times and locations of future meetings (5 mins)
   
  1. pdf 10 - Appendix 1 (512Kb)

Andrew Dakers, Chair, gave a presentation on the future of the Ealing Business Partnership noting the terms of reference from the Council’s constitution.

List of Key Tasks

The proposed amendments to the list of key tasks as detailed in the presentation was agreed by the Partnership with the exception of Identifying opportunities, which it was agreed would now read as follows – "promoting and tracking joint action by the EBP members and local authority to solve shared challenges and support local economic development and prosperity, and pursue"

Timings of Meetings

The timings of meetings was discussed with most of those present being in favour of a mixture of breakfast and evening meetings. The possibility of holding meetings slightly earlier in the evening was discussed and the numbers in favour or against this proposal were equal.

Location of Meetings

Of those present, more were against holding the meeting at different venues around the borough (e.g. Southall and Action). The chair reflected this might be due to the current location attracting participants from close by.

The meeting noted the proposal to hold two additional informal meetings per year, inviting MDs/ CEOs of larger firms to solicit their views. A summary of deliberations would then be fed into subsequent Ealing Business Partnership meetings.

Themes

Councillor Stafford felt that it was important for businesses to have the opportunity at EBP meetings to feed back their concerns, with a greater emphasis on their participation.

It was agreed that this would be a feature of future meetings. The chair highlighted that the agenda for this meeting had been under a lot of pressure due to the business rates presentation.

 

Those present voted on a flipchart their preferences with regards to suggested themes for future meetings of the Ealing Business Partnership as follows:

Digital – 12 votes in favour

Transport Infrastructure – 10 votes in favour

Town Centre/ regeneration Schemes – 5 votes in favour

Education and Skills – 4 votes in favour

Heathrow – 4 votes in favour

Support for Home Based Businesses – 17 votes in favour

Accessing Local Authority Supply Chain – 3 votes in favour

 

Resolved

That the presentation be noted.

11 Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Ealing Business Partnership is scheduled for Tuesday 27th June 2017.
   

The next meeting of Ealing Business Partnership was scheduled for 27 June 2017.

The meeting finished at 9pm.

Attendance

Name
No other member attendance information has been recorded for the meeting.
NameReason for Sending ApologySubstituted By
Councillor Natasha Ahmed-Shaikh  
Councillor Alexander StaffordNot required for this meeting 
NameReason for AbsenceSubstituted By
No absentee information has been recorded for the meeting.

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.

Visitors

Visitor Information is not yet available for this meeting