With the closing date for registrations looming (30 August 2019) book now to attend our National Rural Conference, (in association with the CCRI), in Cheltenham on 3rd & 4th September) here. The keynote speaker for the conference is the Rt Hon Lord Foster of Bath, Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy.
Apologies were noted as read.
The Minutes of meeting 20 November were noted and accepted.
The note of the last Executive meeting was noted and accepted.
Members noted an update on the Provisional Finance Settlement and details of the recently submitted RSN response to the consultation. The following key issues were noted:
• The transitional grant has been stopped.
• Inclusion of council tax In the calculation as to how government funding cuts should fall was unfair to rural areas
• Points had been raised with the Minister further to the last Executive meeting and it was felt that there he had a good understanding of the issues faced by rural communities. However, members noted that the Minister was adamant that all aspects of the new Needs Formula being developed should be backed by evidence. RSN had asked to should be contacted by government officials to give an indication of how they wished this to be collected and for which services.
RSN colleagues to remind Civil Service contacts that they are awaiting input as to what service costs they need captured and how evidence should be provided.
• Members raised concerns at the complexity of the formulas used and noted details of timelines for consultations.
Members noted the preliminary report from PIXEL on the Fair Funding Review.
Members were encouraged to respond individually to the consultation, although a national average position will be sent as a response from the SIG. They discussed the data set which was needed to warranty justification for funding and which is therefore a big part of the current consultation. Members noted that the formula will be simplified but that rural authorities, best placed to provide evidence of impact, must respond with individual examples.
Where previous issues had been raised, members noted some successes and changes to the consultation. The Consultation will close on 12 March and the RSN will circulate a draft response to members for comment before submission.
Members were encouraged to note that their own input will be vital to impacting and reinforcing the rural case.
Members to individually respond on behalf of their own authorities and to ensure that their own individual finance officers follow the thread and are made aware of any issues.
There was no other business and the meeting was closed.
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