Eight jobs will be made redundant as part of a Thanet council restructure.
The job losses are part of budget measures aimed at plugging a £840,000 deficit for the 2021-22 financial year.
Council finances have been significantly impacted by the covid pandemic, although Cllr Rob Yates – responsible for finance – says Thanet is in a better position than council which have made commercial investments and so rely on commercial rents and those which have not reduced borrowing.
At a meeting of Cabinet members tonight (January 14) he said: “This budget has been set during a totally unprecedented period for local government.”
He said the authority work force had been ‘diminished’ by covid and despite government funding not all losses due to the virus, such as those for business rates and fees and charges, would be compensated. In a time of higher expenditure and lower income the current national lockdown is adding to these pressures.
He added: “Some businesses will not have survived or have built up debt, many people will have lost jobs. It is unlikely that Thanet will bounce back to its pre-covid state, at least not in the short term.”
Cllr Yates said the coming year would “require savings” although efforts had been made to “minimise the impact on services and redundancies.”
He added: “I am please to report a minimal impact on services, especially frontline services. There are up to 8 posts that will be deleted and the people occupying those posts will be going through restructuring.
“Although it is too early to say some of those might be subject to compulsory redundancy but every effort will be made to find alternative council employment for them.”
Cllr Yates did not reveal which roles were under threat but budget documents suggest staff ‘savings’ in finance and procurement; maritime operations; coastal development and tourism; neighbourhood services and building control.
Council tax rise
Cabinet members at the meeting approved a report containing the budget measures and proposals for a rise in council tax of £4.99 – or 2.1% – increase per year for Thanet District Council’s element of Council Tax for a Band D property. This equates to a weekly increase of around 10p.
The Budget sets out how the council will allocate £17.165million to fund services from April 2021 – March 2022.
Plans include a 2% rise on fees and charges which will bring in an estimated £400,000. The fees hike will include areas of on and off street parking, crematorium fees, costs for bulky and green waste and higher port and harbour fees.
The budget will now be considered at a full Council meeting in February.
There are expected to be shortfalls in the collection of council tax and business rates due to increased unemployment from an economic downturn (resulting in more Council Tax Support (CTS) claimants and non-payment by those not in receipt of CTS).
Business Rates income could similarly be hit by business failures from an economic downturn with a non payment estimate of £600k. There is also the potential cliff-edge of Business Rates relief for small businesses and those in retail, leisure and hospitality, which has applied for this year but will end in 2021-22, with those businesses expected to start paying rates again
Income from fees, including parking, are also expected to be hit as Covid restrictions continue. This includes Dreamland car park,part of the Dreamland estate sale to amusement park operator SHL, resulting in a forecast loss of £150k income for the year.
Your Leisure – The council’s leisure trust, Your Leisure, is facing a substantial shortfall in its income as a result of Covid, as are all leisure trusts.
The council has paid its management fee for the year up front, and has paid an additional £160k to the trust. This additional fee is equivalent to the previously agreed 2020-21 budget saving in the management fee that will not be achieved as a result of the pandemic.
Ongoing discussions are taking place with Your Leisure to establish their resourcing requirements, which could lead to further demands on the council’s finances
The council says permanent savings must be made.
There will be reduced spending and bolstering council reserves will be delayed until 2022-23 to help meet the financial gap.
Council staff also face a ‘restrained’ cost of living pay award in 2021-22 “in order to protect services and minimise staffing reductions.” Up to eight job losses have been announced.
A 1% increase in pay is proposed to be built into the budget, along with the cost of paying the National Living Wage and increments. Incremental increases through the grading structure are a contractual obligation to the council and a right for staff. In addition, the council is legally required to implement the increase in the National Living wage which is forecast to increase by 5.5% to £9.20 per hour on 1st April 2021. The combination of these pay pressures will cost the council an estimated £294k in 2021-22.
The council’s property holdings total of £267 million net book value after depreciation has been applied.
Where assets are no longer viable or surplus to requirements they will need to be disposed of in order to reduce the council’s liabilities and to generate capital receipts to fund new developments or be transferred for community benefit.
The creation of new investment assets, such as new beach huts, will be explored to create additional income.
Social rents have been set based on government rent guidance. Affordable Rents are linked to local market rents and to the Local Housing Allowance for the area. Rents are applied to individual properties at the lower of either 80% of the local market rent or the Local Housing Allowance.
Councillors have raised concerns about the impact of a rent increase on current tenants and, as a result, the budget suggests a CPI+1% increase for social rent tenants and a freeze for affordable rent tenants. Based on the proposed increase across the whole stock the average rent is £84.94, this is an average increase of £1.89p per property per week
Service Charge Increases
Tenant service charge increases continue to be capped at £3 a week.
Planned capital projects include:
Jet-Ski Berths at Ramsgate Marina.
Ramsgate Port – Berth 1 Refurbishment
Thanet District LED Lighting – convert council owned street/open spaces lighting to LED (also replacing lamp columns where necessary).
Replacement Crematorium Chapel Roof to make the roof watertight and reduce the need for repairs.
Royal Harbour Multi-Storey Car Park Lift Replacement.
Government funding includes:
A further tranche of emergency Covid funding in 2021-22 of £1.016m.
A promise of further support for quarter one of 2021-22 for losses in sales, fees and charges due to Covid.
A Local Income Tax Guarantee scheme to assist with irrecoverable losses of Council Tax and Business Rates in 2020-21, value currently unknown.
A Local Council Tax Support grant to assist with additional costs of Council Tax Support, worth approximately £300k in 2021-22.
Revenue Support Grant of £100k rolled over for one more year to 2021-22.
A Lower Tier Services grant, probably one-off, worth £215k in 2021-22.
Consideration of using the Minor Works team to generate income from selling handyperson services.
A review of printing services income and expenditure including scope to in-source more printing.
Growth in income generated from fees and charges.
Investigation of more shared services including leadership teams.
Expand the CCTV service to sell to other external organisations.
Increase the use of direct debits to improve income collection across all chargeable services.
The budget pot
The money that is used to fund public services is made up of Council Tax, income including fees and charges, retained Business Rates and Government funding (including Revenue Support Grant and New Homes Bonus).
Thanet District Council receives just 12p in every £1 of Council Tax. The remainder goes to: Kent County Council, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Town/Parish Councils.
Well don’t lay off any of the street cleaning staff, in fact take on more. No good banging on about all the climate change if our streets are making a dirty environment. The whole of THANET only needs one administration not all the off shoots in the parishes and Town Councils.
ooooooooooh who’s going?
To save money why not instead of giving all the staff a 1% wage increase. Say that anyone with a salary over 50k. Can manage without a wage increase, most of Managers earning the big bucks have not been in the office since March anyway. 1% of 50k is a lot more than a road sweeper on 15k. Sell the Cecil Sq. offices, as they very under used, and have a small office off Pysons road. Where parking is free. For the few staff that are not working from home. I wonder how much we pay for the Council staff, and Councillors every year for parking near Cecil Sq. Also if you make 8 people redundant, but find another job for them in the Council . I can not see how you save any money.
Cecil Square is served by plenty of bus routes so car parking should not be much needed anyway except by people who don’t live near a bus route. Not that that on its own means that the council needs a whopping great building for its offices, of course.
Never thought I would see the day that a Labour Council prioritising payrises costing around £300k (including for senior managers already on over £100k pa) over the jobs and livelihoods of 8 of their colleagues.
Yes good idea Tony sell the Cecil Street site Off and convert the upper floors of the Leopold Street car park into offices.
How can TDC gleefully trumpet the sale of Dreamland car park one week, then later bemoan the income lost as a result of the sale? Bonkers
Where is the radical thinking? Where is the examination of productivity and efficiency? In the ‘too difficult tray’ – instead just do the same old stuff, increase crem fees, increase parking fees etc.
Someone please tell them that if they keep appliying the same solution to the same problem they will get the same outcome.
No pay rise over £50k, cancel the Parkway white elephant, reduce councillor allowances, change ways of working and review productivity for starters.
But nobody has disclosed the the income from the sale of the Dreamland car park, the Dreamland amusement park, the Dreamland cinema, the Sunshine cafe and whatever else may have been included in the package . . .
No, but has to revealed at some point , though that moment will be once nothing can be done to change things. Quite why it wasn’t put on the open market to determine its real balue is beyond me, maybe there’s a case for a cosy deal regarding the parts covered by the lease but i see no good reason to package it up with freehold assets.
But its now too late and any sum raised will already be destined for unil now undisclosed debts/ disputes or the pet schemes of councillors. No long term benefit to the area.
Sell “Fido”. No not the TDC mascot, but the environmentally damaging and very costly vehicle that we all pay to collect and store the occasional dog poo that it might find. For weeks it has raced around Thanet’s roads, being easily heard long before and after it comes into view, belching diesel fumes in case we forget its search for setting poos is urgent. As a dog owner and tax payer it is my responsibility to pick up and properly dispose of my dog’s mess. I do not expect TDC to do that for me and we can be sure the brown bag that led to two of these being bought did not contain poo!
FOI response. When did TDC buy the Fido machine?
Response: 2015 and a second in 2017
How much did it cost to buy?
How much does it cost to operate per year? What are these costs? (please detail specifics)
Response: Running costs vary depending on frequency of use:
Driver salary approx £17,088 based on 5 days a week deployment, for 7 days a week operation or for less this figure will vary accordingly.
Emptying of the large storage tank and disposal – £5000 per year
Repairs and maintenance-service parts annually- £120
Fuel if operated 5 days a week 52 weeks per year circa -£5,300
TDC should sell it and fine dog owners that ignore the law, producing much needed income, not waste any more money doing dog owners job for them!
I find it weird that the council is so fond of charging some homeowners for the honour of ebeing able to park outside their own home and yet can spend significant amounts of cash every year dealing with dog dirt for anyone that chooses to own one for free. There’s patently no real effort to deal with irresponsible owners in the cliftonville area given the minefield pedestrians have to deal with walking the streets and I’ve never seen fido in the area. Surely its a matter that needs some thought both at local and national level why is the council tax payer coughing up such sums and those causing the problem having little chance of being held to account.
Planned capital projects include:
Jet-Ski Berths at Ramsgate Marina.-DEFER UNTIL FREE PORT OUTCOME IS KNOWN-COULD BE A WASTE IF PLANS CHANGE ITS USEAGE
Ramsgate Port – Berth 1 Refurbishment-DEFER UNTIL FREE PORT OUTCOME KNOWN-COULD BE A WASTE IF PLANS CHANGE ITS USEAGE
Thanet District LED Lighting – convert council owned street/open spaces lighting to LED (also replacing lamp columns where necessary).-WHY ?-IF IT’S NOT BROKE DONT FIX IT
There should be no jet-skis anywhere near Ramsgate or Pegwell Bay! Or kite-surfers. I don’t know why the council is even considering this idea.
Absolutely., 1000%. Those on £50k a year, no pay rise.
Again those over £50k a year no pay rise what exactly are we getting for this money? More not less road sweepers, at least they would make a difference to Thanet.
Am I cynical who on the Town or Thanet council has a jet-ski or family with one. That’s usually the reason behind any council action. The impact on the nature reserve would be . catastrophic.
Jetskis and kite-surfing gear can be lethal to people and animals in the sea near them. So why is TDC considering a move which would put other local sea and beach users at risk?