Here’s what page 72 of the Audit and Governance agenda say:

“Following the approval of the 2013-14 budget, the Council now face a cumulative budget gap of £3.973 million over the next five year period, with a budget gap of £1,878,000 for 2014-15.

“These gaps are before consideration of New Homes Bonus to fund the shortfall. Whilst this is a significant income stream to the Council, it is aware of the risks of over-reliance on this reward grant following recent Government announcements and has proposed that the amount to be used to fund the general fund budget should be limited so that reserves equivalent to two years of New Homes Bonus allocations are built up. These proposals were endorsed by Cabinet, requiring £1.54 million of savings to be identified to close the budget gap for 2014-15 to 2016-17.

“£1,785,000 of savings and income generation schemes have been identified by staff and a Member Budget Working Party has been set up to consider these budget saving proposals in order to close the £1.54 million gap. These schemes include £642,000 in respect of a 4% savings target for each portfolio.

In addition, page 62 states:  “Following a reduction in Government grant funding of the Council had to identify a strategy to close the 2013-14 budget gap of £1.256 million.”

Whilst the Council has made good progress in identifying options to close the budget gap in the medium term, there remain uncertainties and risks, and the Council is aware that significant change is required over the long term and are looking at options for relocating from the current headquarters due to the high running and maintenance costs and the scope for efficiencies.”

I find it a bit surprising that one of the solutions being offered to the financial budgetary problems, appears to be the office move, which, according to the July cabinet papers, means large financial risk, likely significant borrowing and a scheme something akin to a private finance initiative, being considered to fund the new build.

The audit and governance committee meeting takes place this Thursday (26th) at 2.30pm, in the council chamber, Knowle, Sidmouth. Here’s the agenda – http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/combined_a_g_agenda_260913.pdf