We have had a long period of elections, with the General Election following closely on the heels of the County elections. Stephen McPartland was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Stevenage, which includes Knebworth, Codicote, Datchworth and Aston. Let us hope that Westminster MPs from all constituencies from across the country focus on the job in hand: which is to make the laws that will shape society in the country for years to come. A finely balanced parliament should help encourage more scrutiny of legislation, not least that which will arise as a result of the Brexit negotiations.
At the local level, NHDC carries on with the usual cycle of the Civic Year. As in all organisations, the finance function is at the heart of everything we do. The outturn of the revenue and capital budgets will be examined at the next cabinet meeting, as well as the annual treasury management review. These need to be completed before the budget cycle begins again, with the Corporate Plan and Medium Term Financial Strategy, which are due to be debated by Council on 31st August. The difference between the Council’s projected income and its projected expenditure needs to be funded somehow. The amount is the ‘precept’, or the total amount of Council Tax collected. Note that the District Council also collects a precept for the county council, the police authority and, where a property is in a parished area, a parish council precept.
NHDC Community Facilities Capital Projects Fund
Last month I attended the first meeting of the panel which oversees the awarding of capital grants to Village and Community Halls in the District. It has been set up to dispense around one million pounds over the course of four years. The minimum award is £10,000 and the maximum £50,000. Projects themselves can be of any size. There were no applications from Knebworth at our first meeting, but one from the John Clements Centre in Codicote. Note that the panel is not decision making, and simply makes comments on the applications for consideration by the Strategic Director of Finance, Policy and Governance in consultation with the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs. To find out how to apply, contact me or search for ‘Community Facilities Capital Projects Fund’ on the NHDC website.