SRA Annual Report 2019-20: Financial Summary
2019-20 Local Partner Funds
Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) gets annual funding from two sources. Firstly, council tax. Somerset’s local authorities raise money for the SRA through a ‘shadow precept’ (*see below the table). Secondly, the Parrett and Axe Brue Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) make contributions. In 2019- 20, the SRA received Local Partner Funds from these two sources totalling £2,946,300 (£2,926,300 ‘shadow precept’, £20,000 from the two IDBs – £10,000 each). The SRA Board set a budget for 2019-20 of £2,985,670, with additional funds of just under £40,000 taken from contingency. The Board allocated 92.5% of this funding to an Enhanced Programme of works containing 28 schemes and activities, all designed to advance Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan. The remaining 7.5% of funding was for staffing, administration and overheads.
* The ‘shadow precept’ raised for Somerset Rivers Authority by Somerset County Council and Somerset’s four district councils is a 1.25% ‘alternative notional amount’ (ANA) which is added to individual council tax bills, by permission of central government. The ANA can be used only to fund Somerset Rivers Authority. The level of the charge has not increased since 2016-17.
Since its launch in January 2015, the SRA has received Local Partner Funds of nearly £14.5m, and used these to fund 155 schemes, actions and initiatives. A large proportion are delivered within the same financial year. Some require longer term research, design, planning and implementation, so take longer to complete. The table below summarises the situation in 2019-20, with Local Partner Funding raised through the council tax ‘shadow precept’ and IDB contributions.
The pie chart below shows SRA Local Partner Funding spend during the 2019-20 financial year, by Workstream (£k).
The SRA does not commission works directly, instead SRA partners deliver works on behalf of the SRA. Once works are complete, funds are claimed back from the SRA. Funds claimed back represent the SRA’s actual spend. During 2019- 20 the SRA processed delivery partner claims for Local Partner Funds totalling £1,287,000.
Of the total £1,481,000 shown in the pie-chart above, 87% (£1,287,000) was spent on on delivering the SRA’s Enhanced Programme of works, the remaining 13% (£194,000) on staff, administration and overheads.
SRA Enabling Additional Funds
To maximise the benefits of its funding for the people of Somerset, the SRA helps to pull in money from external sources for schemes which advance Flood Action Plan ambitions. The table below shows how – through match-funding arrangements – SRA funding has been used to lever extra money into Somerset.
Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
Following the Somerset floods of 2012 and 2013-14, to help with key parts of Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan, the Government gave £13,049,000 through the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP) Growth Deal Fund. Specifically, the aim of this funding – which is channelled through the SRA – was to enable the delivery of larger capital schemes up to March 2021.
This project overall is called Somerset Flooding. Its purpose is to reduce the duration, depth and frequency of flooding. It has five main elements. Spending upon each of them is set out in the table below. (More details about their delivery can be found in the W1, W2 and the ‘Progress on key elements of Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan’ sections of this annual report.)
The Somerset Flooding project has a budget of £38,270,747. The SRA’s Growth Deal money is a crucial component in a complex mosaic of match-funding arrangements agreed by HotSWLEP. Other money comes from SRA Local Partner Funds, Flood Defence Grant in Aid, Triple C, the Environment Agency, Sedgemoor District Council, New Homes Bonus, Community Infrastructure Levy and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).