Report from the Strategic Director for Finance and Customer Services.
That Cabinet recommend to Council
1. Approval of the Budget and Financial Strategy for 2023/24 as set out in the report and appendices, including a basic Council Tax increase of 2% and an Adult Social Care precept of 2%. ... view the full agenda text for item 118
Consideration was given to the report submitted which proposed the Council’s Budget and Council Tax for 2023/24, based on the Council’s Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2023/24, budget consultation and the consideration of Directorate budget proposals through the Council’s Budget process alongside a review of the financial planning assumptions ... view the full minutes text for item 118
To consider a report outlining proposals for the Council’s Budget and Council Tax for 2023/2. The proposals are based on the Council’s Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2023/24, budget consultation and the consideration of Directorate budget proposals through the Council’s Budget process alongside a review of the financial planning assumptions within the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).
Cabinet Portfolio: The Leader
Strategic Directorate: Finance and Customer Services
The Board considered a report outlining proposals for the Council’s Budget and Council Tax for 2023/24. The proposals were based on the Council’s Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2023/24, budget consultation and the consideration of Directorate budget proposals through the Council’s Budget process. The report also reviews details of the financial planning assumptions within the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).
The Chair invited the Leader to present the report. Also in attendance were the Deputy Leader and the Cabinet Members for Adult Care and Public Health; Children and Young People; Corporate Services, Community Safety and Finance; and Housing. Apologies were received from the Cabinet Members for Jobs and the Local Economy; Social Inclusion; and Transport and the Environment.
In opening, the Leader outlined that there was an £6m funding gap which had resulted from pressures outside the Council’s control, such as the national pay award, inflation and rising energy costs. It was highlighted that since the last financial monitoring report was considered, the provisional settlement had been announced which had led to a slightly better position however it would not address the funding pressures fully. The use of reserves would be required , however this had to be done on a sustainable basis.
The Leader highlighted the prioritise underpinning the budget proposals. These were to protect frontline services; avoid placing additional burdens for people on lower incomes; and ensure that services were on a sustainable footing year on year.
The proposals outlined £4 million of cost reductions some of which were permanent savings, with others being offered on a temporary basis. The proposals also contained £0.5m of investments which could be achieved in the current climate.
The Chair thanked the Leader for his introduction and invited members to ask questions and a discussion on the following points ensued:
· The challenges of making budget projections in light of inflationary and energy cost pressures and the necessity of using reserves to meet the shortfall.
· Whether greater emphasis should be given to the impact of financial austerity on the delivery of services. It was outlined that the press release accompanying budget proposals referred explicitly to the effect this had had on people’s lives and the Council’s ability to deliver services.
· Relatively few of the budget savings proposals would be carried over to next year’s budget as these were one off savings.
· It was confirmed discussions had taken place about the use of reserves and sustainability. it was felt that reasonable assumptions had been made concerning next year’s position.
· Assumptions about final grant allocations were made on the basis of previous allocations. Any shortfall may require further use of reserves, however that measure was thought unlikely.
· The budget assumptions were based on the best available information. If these assumptions were incorrect, the Council would need to take further action in year 3 to rectify.
The Leader outlined the proposals relating to fees and charges (as outlined in Appendix 7 of the report). In a typical year a 2% increase would be assumed, however in ... view the full minutes text for item 152