MD1611 2016-17 Council Tax and Precept

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD1611
Date signed: 
22 February 2016
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Mayor's final draft budget for 2016-17 was considered at the meeting of the London Assembly held on 22 February 2016.  The Assembly made no amendment to this and it therefore becomes the Greater London Authority's (GLA’s) consolidated budget for the next financial year. Approval of the final draft budget allows the calculation of the GLA consolidated council tax requirement and precepts. The Mayor is asked in this decision form to agree these amounts and to the issuing of the formal precept notifications to the 33 London billing authorities (the 32 boroughs and the City of London) as set out at Appendix A. 

The Mayor is also asked to approve the explanatory supporting text in relation to the GLA budget and precept and associated calculations which will be circulated to the 33 council tax billing authorities in London so that they can make this available to council taxpayers.  Two versions of the explanatory text have been prepared – a long version representing the GLA’s preferred text and a short version which billing authorities may, at their discretion, use instead in order to reduce the cost of their council tax billing process. The two alternative versions are set out in Appendix B.

 

 

Decision

The Mayor is requested:
(a)  To agree the calculations for 2016-17 for:
    the amount of the consolidated council tax requirement for the Greater London Authority of £774,343,355 and the proposed Band D equivalent council tax precepts (£276.00 in the 32 London boroughs and £73.89 in the Common Council of the City of London);
    the tax for different valuation bands; and
    the amount of council tax collectable by each billing Authority and payable to the GLA consistent with the consolidated council tax requirement approved without amendment by the London Assembly on 22 February 2016.
(b)    To agree to the issue of the GLA precept data for 2016-17 to the 33 council tax billing authorities (the 32 London boroughs and the Common Council of the City of London).
(c)    To formally approve both the alternative versions of the 2016-17 council tax explanatory text in respect of the GLA budget and precept to be issued to the 33 council tax billing authorities for communication to the occupiers of domestic properties in London.

 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.    Introduction and background

1.1    The Mayor's final draft budget for 2016-17 was considered at the meeting of the London Assembly held on 22 February 2016.  The Assembly made no amendment to the final draft budget and this budget is therefore the Authority's consolidated budget for the next financial year.  Approval of the final draft budget allows the calculation of the GLA council tax and precepts which must be notified to the 33 council tax billing authorities in London (the 32 London boroughs and the City of London) by 29 February 2016. This decision form asks the Mayor to approve the Band D council tax and precepts on the 33 London billing authorities for 2016-17 as set out in Appendix A.

1.2    The Mayor is also asked to approve the two alternative versions of the explanatory supporting information that the GLA will submit to the 33 billing authorities for the information of council taxpayers as set out in Appendix B.

 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The final draft budget set out the component council tax requirements for the GLA and each functional body and the consolidated council tax requirement for the GLA group. The purpose of this decision form is to request that the Mayor confirms the approved council tax requirements which are set out below. These figures are rounded to the nearest pound.

Constituent body

Component council tax requirement

Mayor of London

£60,833,212

London Assembly

£2,615,000

Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime

£566,657,143

London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority

£138,238,000

Transport for London

£6,000,000

London Legacy Development Corporation

£NIL

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation

£NIL

 

Total Consolidated Council Tax Requirement

 

£774,343,355

 

2.2    The first table in Appendix A sets out the statutory calculations under sections 88 and 89 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (the GLA Act as amended) for determining the two component parts of the Mayor’s precept – 

Item (A) the basic amount of council tax excluding the special item for the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime (MOPAC), which applies in all 33 London billing authorities. This is calculated by dividing the consolidated council tax requirement, excluding the MOPAC component, by the council tax base for the whole of the Greater London Authority area. This is calculated as £73.89;

Item (B) the basic amount of council tax including the special item for the MOPAC (which does not apply in the area of the Common Council of the City of London which has its own police force). This is calculated by dividing the council tax requirement for the MOPAC by the council tax base for the Metropolitan Police District area (i.e. excluding the City of London). This is calculated as £202.11.

2.3    Items A and B are added together to determine the Mayor’s precept for the 32 London boroughs. For 2016-17 this is £276.00 for a Band D property. Item A is the precept applying in the area of the Common Council of the City of London only (£73.89 per Band D property).

2.4    The second table in Appendix A sets out the amount of council tax for each of the eight different valuation bands (A to H) applying in the 32 boroughs and the City of London. The third table sets out the amounts of the precept to be issued to each billing authority (i.e. their individual Band D taxbases multiplied by £276.00 in each of the 32 boroughs and £73.89 in the City of London).  The sums in the third table exclude the GLA’s share of each billing authority’s declared collection fund surplus or deficit for 2015-16 which will be added to or deducted from the precept amount shown.

2.5    Appendix B contains two alternative versions of the explanatory information (i.e. the council tax leaflet text) for 2016-17 which will be issued to the 33 council tax billing authorities in London.  The text provides an important opportunity for the Mayor and GLA to communicate with the occupiers of the estimated 3.5 million properties liable to council tax, its estimated 298,000 non domestic ratepayers (who may also receive this information at the discretion of their billing authorities) as well as Londoners more generally on the group’s budget and priorities for the next financial year.

2.6    Depending on how each billing authority chooses to exercise their flexibilities under the 2012 Local Government Finance Act and the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) (Amendment) (No.2) (England) Regulations 2012 this supporting information will either be circulated to council taxpayers directly alongside their bills or made available on billing authority websites. Where the supporting information is made available on billing authority websites only taxpayers should be provided with the web address in their billing information.  Council taxpayers may also request a hard copy to be supplied to them by post if the policy to provide the information by website is adopted.

2.7    The long version represents the GLA’s preferred text and the short version sets out a shorter summary text which billing authorities may, at their discretion, circulate instead in order to reduce the cost of their council tax billing process. Both versions comply with the requirements of the Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011 as amended. These regulations specify what information must be included in communications to council taxpayers from precepting (e.g. the GLA in London), levying (e.g. the London Pensions Fund Authority and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority) and billing authorities. Printing and billing deadlines mean that billing authorities require the leaflet information as soon as is practicable.

2.8    It is proposed to publish the consolidated budget for the year and the component budgets for each constituent body for the next financial year by:

    Placing the consolidated budget, the component budgets and the supporting explanation considered by the Assembly on 22 February 2016 on the GLA website.

    Requesting the functional bodies place their budgets on their own websites. 

    Making copies available for inspection at City Hall.  

 

Equality comments

3.1    Public authorities, such as the GLA (Mayor and Assembly) and the five functional bodies, must have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to the need to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not, under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. This involves having due regard to the need to remove or minimise any disadvantage suffered by those who share a relevant protected characteristic that is connected to that characteristic, taking steps to meet the different needs of such people; and encouraging them to participate in public life or in any other activity where their participation is disproportionately low. 

3.2    The “protected” characteristics and groups are: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation and marriage/ civil partnership status.  Compliance with the duty may involve treating people with a protected characteristic more favourably than those without the characteristic. The duty has applied to the formulation and approval of the GLA’s and functional bodies’ individual budgets and component council tax requirements, and the Mayor’s final draft budget, approved without amendment. This decision form now implements the approval of the precept calculations and issue of the GLA precept to the 33 billing authorities.  Part 3 to the final draft budget provided advice on the equalities implications of the Mayor’s final draft budget.

3.3    Additionally, and complementarily, the Mayor is required by section 33(1) of the GLA Act to make appropriate arrangements with a view to securing that in the formulation and implementation of the Mayor’s statutory strategies due regard is had to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all. 

3.4    Compliance with the public sector equality duty is necessarily iterative and on-going. It includes carrying out a process at a level proportionate to the decision being taken to identify and actively consider potential detrimental impacts (if any) that may arise for individual protected groups and what mitigations (if any) could be implemented to address them. The GLA (Mayor and Assembly) and the functional bodies will continue to carry out this process in the implementation of their individual budgets, strategies, policies, programmes and projects.

 

Other considerations

Links to Mayoral Strategies
4.1    There are no direct implications in relation to the Mayor’s 20-20 Vision or any other GLA strategies arising from performing the precept calculations that are required to be made in accordance with the GLA Act and the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended. Where relevant these were addressed in the Mayor’s draft and final draft budgets presented to the Assembly.

Consultation arrangements 
4.2    The Mayor issued guidance in July 2015 to the Greater London Authority and the functional bodies for preparing their budget submissions.  The guidance sought to ensure that the Mayor’s budget proposals were an accurate reflection of his priority aims and objectives within available resources.

4.3    The subsequent budget process itself involved:

    budget development by functional bodies and both parts of the GLA between July and November 2015;
    budget submissions scrutinised and approved by the functional bodies before formal submission to the Mayor in November 2015;
    the Mayor’s draft budget proposals considered, prepared and issued for consultation on 21 December 2015; 
    consultation undertaken on that document between 21 December 2015 to 12 January 2016; 
    scrutiny by the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee throughout the process;
•    the presentation of the Mayor’s draft consolidated budget which was considered by the Assembly on 27 January 2016 and approved without amendment; and
•    the presentation of the Mayor’s final draft budget which was approved without amendment by the Assembly on 22 February 2016.

4.4    The precepts and council tax requirements recommended for approval in this Decision are identical to those approved without amendment by the Assembly on 22 February.

Risks
4.5    The Mayor’s precept and council tax requirement have been considered and approved in line with the requirements of the GLA Act. The precept will be collected and enforced by the 33 London billing authorities in line with established practice and having regard to relevant legislation. 

4.6    On the basis of the Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases (Principles) (England) Report 2016/2017, approved by the House of Commons on 10 February 2016 the council tax precept levels (on the basis of both the adjusted and unadjusted relevant basic amount of council tax) proposed by the Mayor in his final draft budget were also determined to be compliant with the excessiveness principles contained in that Report as they apply to the GLA. There will therefore be no requirement for a referendum to be held to approve the precept.  

4.7    There are no further implications for risk management therefore as these have been addressed as part of the budgetary process.

 

Financial comments

5.1    There are no specific financial implications in addition to those already included in the final draft consolidated budget documentation.  The calculations set out in this Decision have been made in compliance with sections 85 to 89 of the GLA Act. The Authority must now issue the proper notices to the 32 boroughs and the City of London to facilitate their own budget and council tax setting processes. The costs of billing and printing of supporting information (if applicable) are met by billing authorities - as this is a statutory function they are required to undertake.

 

 

Investment and Performance Board

7.1    This decision has not been considered by the Investment and Performance Board as it does not relate to the approval of a specific GLA programme or project. However the Mayor’s budget has been consulted on and approved in line with the statutory process set out in the GLA Act – particularly sections 83 to 92 and schedule 6 so has been subject to significant external and internal scrutiny.

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Following the approval of this Mayoral Decision the timeline set out below will be followed.

Activity

Timeline

Final precept notifications and supporting explanatory information will be circulated to all 33 London billing authorities

22 Feb 2016

Subject to the billing authorities’ local policies the supporting explanatory information will either be circulated by them to council taxpayers directly alongside their bills or made available on billing authority websites. Where applicable taxpayers will be provided with the web address in their billing information.

March 2016

 

Appendices and supporting papers

Appendix A –     GLA council tax requirement and precept calculations for 2016-17
Appendix B –     Proposed explanatory communication to council taxpayers to be submitted to the 33 London billing authorities

Supporting Papers
The final draft consolidated budget for 2016-17 and Assembly decision in relation to this at its meeting on 22 February 2016

Information on the Mayor's budget