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Finance committee report

Janet Webb, parish treasurer, noted that the Finance Committee (comprising Fr John, Paul Crowe as chairman, Archie MacCallum and herself) had met four times during the year and once since.  Brief reports of the meetings continued to appear in the parish newsletter.

Turning to the statement of parish receipts and payments for the year to 31 March 2015 (copy attached), she highlighted two key points: first, the closing balance at 31 March had risen by over £12,000 in the year to £43,711, and at 5 May (the latest figure available) stood at £47,000 – a very commendable result; second, the ‘core income’ of the parish (offertory, standing orders and tax rebate) had held up remarkably well and at £55,872 was only £500 down from the previous year, though more recently the weekly collections had tended to drop. The parish Gift Aid tax rebate (£8,964) would have been higher had the £1,250 due under the new Small Donations Gift Aid Scheme been received during the year.  Under this scheme, provided a parish’s tax rebate under the main scheme was £5,000, it was possible to claim a further rebate on up to £5,000 of loose plate (excluding cheques and notes over £20).  However, to secure this it must be possible for the parish to prove the audit trail back from the claim to the parish ledgers. Some parishes had not been able to do this: hence the delay to the diocesan claim. She understood St Ninian’s claim was currently with HMRC.  Under a new concession it would be possible from 2016 to claim up to £2,000 under this scheme, provided the rebate on the main scheme was £8,000 – which served to underline the importance of the main scheme, and of continuing to recruit new members for that.  On other receipt items, fund raising, gifts and bequests during the year totalled £9,948, which showed again the generosity of parishioners. Special collections at £7,526 included £1,600 for SCIAF, £1,400 for the Missions and the excellent sum of £2,377 for the Bishop’s special appeal for the persecuted Iraqi Christians. On payments, the main components of church running expenses (£5,854) were oil and electricity (£4,658) and altar expenses (£1,130).  House expenses (£3,200) comprised heating and lighting and council tax. Maintenance and repairs under £1,500 (£3,462) contained nothing untoward, the largest item being £600 for a repair to the roof. Approved repairs and projects (£7,967) comprised the repair to the platform lift the previous autumn (£1,620) and a down payment on the replacement carriage (£6,347) in March.  Office expenses (£4,132) covered telephone, computing and copying costs, stationery, Mass times adverts and catechetical items.  Diocesan levies (£25,572) comprised (a) Central costs (£15,438), major components being the cost of seminarians, of administration, and of support of the bishop and of sick and retired priests, and (b) Clergy costs (£10,134).

On prospects for the year ahead, the balance in hand was good (£47,000 at 5 May).  At the time the budget was prepared at the end of March, the parish’s incomings and outgoings for the year ahead were expected to be more or less equal, provided the fund-raising target of £4,000 was achieved.  However, it now seemed that the projects being progressed by the Fabric Committee were likely to cost more in total than had been allowed at the time of the budget.  Nevertheless, the parish had the necessary resources.  Finally, the Finance Committee remained very grateful that parishioners continued to support the parish so generously.

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