Agenda item


To consider and approve the Cabinet’s recommendations in respect of the Budget and Council Tax for the 2024-25 financial year.


Pursuant to Minute No.146 of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 12 February 2024, consideration was given to the report that proposed the Council’s Budget and Council Tax for 2024/25.

In moving the budget report, the Leader thanked all Members who had worked so hard to put together the proposals for this year. He thanked Finance staff, Cabinet colleagues, the Chief Executive and especially Councillor Alam in ensuring serious budget proposals were brought forward for the coming year. As ever this year’s budget marked the culmination of many months of hard work and long nights.


The Leader explained Rotherham was in a better position than many other Councils across the country with six Councils declaring they could not balance their budget, Somerset seeking the ability to increase council tax by 10%, Bradford asking for additional financial help from the Government to help fill a £120 million budget shortfall over the next five years and Sky News reporting last week that out of one hundred and twenty-nine councils, only eight proposed a lower council tax increase than the maximum allowed by the Government’s cap; five of those were proposing more than 4.8%.


The Leader was pleased to propose an increase below the referendum cap for the fifth year in a row and believed this to be the second lowest increase of any Council with social care responsibilities anywhere in the country and the lowest in Yorkshire.


Having taken tough decisions a Band D Council tax payer in Rotherham had nearly £200 more in their pocket today than they would have done otherwise.  The Council would continue the Council Tax Support Top-Up payments for a further year worth £121.96.  It would again support 14,000 Rotherham households of working age through the cost-of-living crisis, lifting 10,000 of those out of borough-wide Council tax altogether.


The Leader further explained that after £200 million of cuts under this Government, communities in Rotherham were poorer not just in their private lives, but also in their public spaces.


To avoid the future remaining fragile the Council needed to be sustainable, reliably funded, based on multi-year settlements to better provide for the needs of families, who were more often the hardest hit.


The number of children in the borough needing free school meals had risen by 25% in the last three years. This equated to an extra two and half thousand extra children.


In proposing universal baby packs in this budget the Leader explained this would ensure every newborn child had the essentials and every parent had access to the help and support that they needed. Launching this later this year would make it as simple and easy as possible to get good quality basics and by registering at a local children’s centre, the Council could ensure parents had the right support from day one.


By reinvesting £370,000 a year, this would increase the number of open access sessions in children’s centres and bolster youth work provision for older children too. By creating hundreds of additional sessions each year that anyone could attend for free it would give additional time and energy to any family who needed to use it.  In the words of Councillor Monk for families who needed somewhere to go … for free.


The Leader pointed out that Members have supported improvements to children’s playgrounds in their areas and in the UKSPF plan a few months ago a commitment was given to additional funding to match-fund two new Multi-Use Games Areas.  This budget, with nearly a million pounds of additional resources, had commitments for major upgrades to eight further children’s play areas across the borough, including those at Thrybergh and Rother Valley Country Parks and to fix and renovate the Water Splash in Clifton Park.


Alongside the Rotherham Parent Carer’s Forum the Council would bring forward their long-held ambition for a new Hub for children and families with special educational needs in the town centre.


In addition, the Leader reiterated that Forge Island cinema was due to open later this summer and with the award-winning children’s literacy charity Grimm & Co, the programme of library investment across the borough, ten new playgrounds, more youth work, better access to children’s centres, the SEND Hub, and baby packs; even in these difficult times the Council would carve out a space for children to grow and flourish, whatever their background.  This was a budget for families.


The Leader explained this was also a budget that gave priority to those areas of spending that residents have told us were the most important to them.  Since 2016, the number of potholes in the borough’s roads had been halved and better than the national average. People still want to see more done so a further £16 million was to be invested over the next four years to resurface forty miles more carriageway and scores more pavements.


More funds would be provided towards keeping the streets clean, especially in principal towns like Maltby, Dinnington, Swinton, Wath and the town centre itself. A dedicated team of sweeper drivers would be introduced to help improve the appearance of streets everywhere.  Traffic lights and street lights would be fixed and a further £400,000 had been put towards small-scale local road safety improvements at the request of communities.


The Leader reiterated residents were being supported by halving the cost of household bulky waste collections fines for littering and fly-tipping would be increased up to the maximum allowed.


Technology would be purchased to improve the response to residents, so they know when their reports were being actioned, streets cleaned, fly-tipping removed or streetlights fixed.


The Leader was pleased to report that a further £5.5 million of capital funding to deliver flood alleviation schemes at Whiston and Laughton Common was to be provided, with further cash available to support the development of a scheme at Catcliffe (if required) following the outcome of the Section 19 Audit Report.  This was the chance for the members for Dinnington, Sitwell and Rother Vale to stand with your communities and show that you too want to see those flood defences built by backing Labour’s proposals today. It would look pretty dimly on Councillors who failed to take that opportunity.


Moreover, building on the success of the Towns and Villages Fund, seeing improvements to local centres in twenty-three locations across the borough and by putting an extra £2 million into new Our Places Fund the Council would continue to make tangible improvements in the places where residents lived.


The Leader pointed out Britain was also facing a homelessness crisis.  There were more people living in temporary accommodation in England last year than at any time in history.  Official figures last February showed a 25% increase in the number of people rough sleeping.  In Rotherham there were 146 people living in hotels or other temporary accommodation in December which was up by 25% on the year before.  The homelessness crisis was a stain on the moral character of the country.


Whilst there was political opposition to the building of new homes and to de-fund the building of new council homes, homelessness was a catastrophe in the lives of far too many of residents.  So the Council would do more to help people avoid falling into homelessness and provide more temporary accommodation. The Empty Homes Officer would be permanently funded, who had helped to bring forty-three otherwise dis-used properties back into residential use and there would be a continuation to deliver on the biggest Council homes building programme for fifty years.


The Leader believed Britain had fallen a long, long way these last fourteen years in ensuring residents’ needs were met and these budget proposals would continue to build the better borough that residents so deserved and would do so in the hope and the knowledge that change was on its way.


In seconding the budget report Councillor Alam, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Community Safety and Finance, passed on his thanks to those who had worked tirelessly to get to this position.


Services impacted on the lives of residents and with this investment this Council was focused on putting families first.  There were challenges as a result of funding cuts since 2010.  This budget made further investment for the benefit of the residents of this town, into community services and would benefit from capital investment into Clifton Park and digital inclusion.  Despite the suffering and the cuts to funding, this Council wanted a truly responsible budget to ensure residents were fully supported.


Two notices of budget amendments had been received.


The first proposed for the Liberal Democrats by Councillor A. Carter and seconded by Councillor Tarmey sought support for:-


That the Budget and Council Tax 2024/25 report be accepted as proposed, except for the following amendments to:-




1.           Reduce the proposed Council Tax increase from 3.5% to 3.4%, with the proposed increase being made up of a basic Council Tax increase of 1.4% and an Adult Social Care precept of 2%.


2.           Remove the budget investment proposal for Community Wealth Building, saving £120,000 per annum.


These amendments are in balance.


CAPITAL PROGRAMME (Appendix 3C to 3F Capital Programme 2023/24 to 2027/28):-


1.           Cease the Markets and Libraries Redevelopment for a total reduction in the 2023/24 to 2027/28 Capital Programme of £26,280,745 saving £15,300,000 of the Council’s own capital resources after removal of associated grant funding:


2.           Add or increase budgets for the following investments, for a total increase of £7,139,960 in 2024/25.


a.           Capital Investment Catcliffe Feasibility Study. Increase 2024/25 Capital Programme by £400,000 to carry out a Catcliffe feasibility study in relation to flood prevention.


b.           Capital Investment Ward Budgets. Increase 2024/25 budget from £7120 to £100,000 for each of the two member wards, at an additional total cost of £1,486,080.


c.           Capital Investment Ward Budgets. Increase 2024/25 budget from £10,680 to £150,000 for each of the three member wards, at an additional total cost of £1,253,880.


d.           Increase the Towns and Villages Fund by £4m to be used on the same basis as the current fund.


These amendments reduce the Council’s Capital Programme by £19,140,785 and free up £8,160,040 of the Council’s own capital resources.


Councillor A. Carter proposed on the basis that focus needed to change with investment into towns and villages where people were working.  Working habits had changed and  people were not commuting so residents deserved to have their local areas made better.  Cuts had been made to libraries and markets, but residents needed to have safer streets, more pedestrian crossings and more for young people to do.  Cash was needed in every community  where there was a need for a crossing, new shelter, new park, new district centre or a dangerous road resurfaced.  By devolving funding to local areas, preventing limitations of smaller ward schemes, bigger investments could not happen, but with this budget now proposed it could. 


Whilst working hard to stop the flooding in Catcliffe, hundreds of families had been displaced from their homes.  Cash needed to be in place to make this stop.


Council tax must be lowered and vanity projects scrapped.  Only then would towns and villages be better, safer and put an end to any flooding.


Councillor Tarmey seconded the first budget amendment to lower the increase in council tax.  It was not right to  invest £26 million in the town centre especially when cinemas were struggling, the town did not need a 1970s market.  What it did need was something different.  These proposals would devolve capital budgets in wards to allow for play parks, improvements to infrastructure, parking and would thus increase the town and villages fund by £4 million.  This would be sustainable by saving the town centre investments and allow for investment into towns and villages instead. 


The motion debate ensued and Councillor Bennett-Sylvester found the proposals non-sensical around the town centre developments and the so called 1970’s market. 


The Leader found the amendment similar to the previous one submitted and the criticism on the town centre and markets funding.  He would much rather see the funding spent on the town centre rather than funding being returned and made reference to good examples of town centres with thriving markets thus creating a hub in the town.  He was unable to support false promises when this budget only gave the impression problems could be solved with additional funding to each ward.


Councillor Baum-Dixon found this amendment out of touch, but welcomed the opportunity for investment into local areas rather than investment and focus on the town centre.


Councillor Ball acknowledged this Council was ignoring towns and villages outside the town centre.  In reality there should be equitable capital investment into wards to support businesses and allow neighbourhoods to thrive.


Councillor Hoddinott was unable to support the initiatives of the amendment and leaving the local economy at the whims of shareholders. There was a need for traditional businesses to look how they could support alternative options especially when there were hidden gems in this borough.


Councillor Cusworth noted the easy arguments for devolved budgets in wards and the putting forward of plans to abandon work and progress made in the town centre. The town centre would prosper with local jobs at Forge Island and finally a cinema and eating places.  This was what those consulted wanted and  Rotherham would become more child centred and family friendly.


Councillor Alam could not support the amendment and believed the markets complex would transport money into Rotherham.


Councillor Sheppard spoke against the withdrawal from the market and libraries project.  This was the Council’s opportunity to invest and make a difference into an area which would develop onto becoming a fantastic scheme.


Councillor Roche referred to the pain and cost cutting due to austerity.  The proposed ward funding would not sustain some of the infrastructure required.


In his right to reply Councillor Carter addressed the wasting of money on the market project and hoped that Members would vote for a budget increasing the budget for towns and villages to ensure they received a fair deal.


The second amendment proposed for the Conservatives by Councillor Ball and seconded by Councillor Mills sought support for:-


That the Budget and Council Tax 2024/25 report be accepted as proposed, with the exception of the following amendments:-




Revenue Budget Investments


1.           Reduce the budget proposed for Baby Packs by £280,000 in 2024/25 and 2025/26 to a total of £80,000 in each financial year. While supporting the aim of encouraging registration at Family Hubs, eligibility for the baby pack is to be changed to supply baby packs to households that are in receipt of means tested benefits and for the first child only.


2.           Increase the Principal Towns Cleansing budget by £60k in 2024/25 and 2025/26 to a total of £426,000in each financial year to be spent on the proposed Cleaner Streets and Roads programme – providing another two roles, additional to the 13 roles laid out in the proposal.  The additional £60k will be for two new street cleaning roles for communities and “problem areas” that do not fall within RMBC’s high footfall definition, including rural roads. This will ensure communities such as Rawmarsh, Wickersley, Swallownest, Kiveton Park, Thurcroft and Greasbrough, are provided with additional and regular scheduled street cleaning in problem areas identified by ward members and neighbourhood coordinators. The Rotherham Town Centre team that has been created will be required to work two days on rolling basis outside of town centre each week to provide extra support in the cleaning of the unparished areas of the borough, including Moorgate, Rawmarsh, Swinton and Wath, and rural roads through the borough – including problem spots such as Royds Moor Hill/Worrygoose Road and Hill Top Lane/Far Dalton Lane.


3.           Remove the budget proposed for the Restorative Hate Crime Service, saving £30,000 in 2024/25 and 2025/26. 


4.           Remove the budget proposed for Community Wealth Building, saving £120,000 in 2024/25 and 2025/26.


5.           Allocate a budget of £100,000 in 2024/25 and 2025/26 to support a Youth Club and Service Provision Programme. This fund is to be used to provide grants of up to £10,000that each of the Parish Councils of Aston-cum-Aughton, Anston, Dinnington St John’s and Maltby, can apply for. The grants should be used to employ youth workers or for capital towards equipment. This grant is not to be used for rental fees of Parish Council owned property. A £60,000 fund will be available in both financial years for youth service provision in the unparished areas of Rawmarsh, Wath and Swinton, that local organisations and charities can apply for.


6.           Allocate a budget of £240,000 in 2024/25 and 2025/26 to support a Love Your High Street: Invest Rotherham Borough scheme. An initiative to support ideas from local businesses, town/parish councils, organisations/community groups with projects that will help revive our high streets and help them to flourish for the future. This can include tidying up a high street shopfront, diversifying a business, launching a business, bringing back an empty high street unit into practical use, a social enterprise or community group embarking on a high street venture, or an event to attract more visitors.  The fund will also help support delivery of high street plans within adopted Neighbourhood Plans.  The project will also be used to support the regeneration projects in Dinnington, Wath and Maltby, to help attract new business to the three towns and support existing business with the transition. A team of two staff would be recruited to create and oversee the project, with a launch by October 2024.  Additional funding will be sought from SYMCA and other sources to expand the programme which aligns with the MCA’s economic regeneration aims. The programme is a move away from the attempt of using capital projects to improve high streets but instead creating the pro-business environment and encouraging entrepreneurs to set up business in our villages and towns. 


7.           Allocate a budget of £30,000 in 2024/25 and 2025/26 to support Woodland Management Improvements. The funding for project to improve woodland management at Anston and Alcove Plantation.


These amendments are in balance.




1.           Reduce the budget proposed for Our Places Fund by £750,000 in 2024/25 and £550,000 in 2025/26, to set a budget of £450,000 in 2024/25 and £250,000 in 2025/26. The scheme to focus on four high footfall areas that missed out on Towns and Villages public realm work and funding. Remaining funding will be used to support previous Towns and Villages schemes and Capital Regeneration Project areas.

£300,000 to be allocated to Swallownest high street in 24/25
£150,000 to be allocated to Lordens Hill shopping area, Dinnington 24/25
£150,000 to be allocated to Bramley high street in 25/26
£100,000 to be allocated to Thorpe Hesley 25/26


2.           Remove the Towns and Villages Fund unallocated balance of £1,927,245 and instead allocate this funding on the following basis: -


a.           £820,000 to be allocated to Maltby High Street to complete the high street public realm improvement works, additional to the funding already secured.

b.           The remaining £1,107,245 would then be used to support high streets via Love Your High Street Programme and other programmes to support local communities.


3.           Increase the Road Safety Small Schemes programme to £400,000 for 2024/25 and 2025/26, an increase of £200,000 per financial year, to acknowledge the demand from elected members and the public. Areas such as Dinnington, Aston and Thorpe Hesley will be prioritised.


4.           Increase the Principal Towns Cleansing Capital Programme to £195,000 for 2024/25, an increase of £27,500, to allow for additional equipment purchase to support expansion of the programme.


5.           Create a Children’s Neighbourhoods Playgrounds Programme Fund providing £0.5m in 2025/26 for grants of up to £75,000 for improvements to play equipment, especially inclusive play equipment in neighbourhood playgrounds with priority given to areas that are not benefitting from RMBC’s neighbourhood park improvements.


These amendments reduced the Council’s Capital Programme by £522,500 in 2024/25 and increased the Council’s Capital Programme by £150,000 in 2025/26.


Councillor Ball introduced new ideas which would see business increased, streets cleaned, projects funded, young clubs around the borough and allow this balanced budget which the Finance Team had help to support.  It would not see the targeted approach for the baby packs, but allow for towns cleaning budgets to be increased where there was higher footfall including on rural roads and unparished areas.  It would see the removal of the budget for hate crime and community wealth and thus allow for an allocation of a budget for youth clubs and local organisations to apply for.


There would be £240k to support a new initiative to love the high street and help deliver a number of high street plans.  It would help regenerate new local businesses not just in the town centre and help launch other economic aims.


This budget would provide for £30k in 2024, 2025 and 2026 for woodland management  and support capital regeneration in Swallownest, Lordens Hill, Dinnington, Bramley and Thorpe Hesley.  It would remove the towns and villages funding and allocate additional funding where it could support a difference and a programme of work for local communities.


In terms of road safety there would be £400k over three years to acknowledge the demand from Members and the public about priority in certain areas.  In addition there would be capital funding for additional cleaning, additional equipment purchase and children’s neighbourhood playgrounds where resources were lacking.


Councillor Mills seconded the Conservative budget amendment.


Councillor Pitchley was disappointed with the removal of the baby packs when children in this borough deserved the best start in life.


Councillor Bennett-Sylvester made reference to the areas highlighted by the amended budget proposals namely the removal of the baby packs and the Hate Crime/Restorative Service which he could appreciate the limited take up in more affluent areas, but expressed concerns about gender inequalities when the main benefit source was women. 


Councillor Baum-Dixon did not believe the baby boxes were warranted for all new parents and believed targeted support should be for where it was needed.  To continue would be a waste of taxpayers’ money and should be more of a common-sense approach.


It would be more appropriate for the funding of towns and villages and to ensure streets and lanes were kept clean and clubs were available for young people.


In terms of road safety whilst a wide-ranging scheme had been secured in Woodsetts other areas need similar schemes so this amendment  recognised this for outlying communities, recognised high streets and delivered improvements.


More funding was required for playgrounds and to ensure they were fully inclusive for children with disabilities to use the equipment as they too had the right to play.


This amendment also delivered on the commitment to funding tree maintenance especially following concerns around plantations to ensure people were able to feel safe and would provide high quality services.


Councillor Baker-Rogers believed all babies deserved the best start in life and the packs should be available to all.  Parents then had a choice of whether they wished to take up the offer and should not be means tested to accept.  This was raised at the last Overview and Scrutiny Management Board when there was a suggestion that limitations be placed on those parents who could accept.


Councillor Reynolds made reference to rejuvenation and historical uses of Council offices compared to the current operation and occupancy of Riverside House.


Councillor Cusworth was unable to support the amendment and the messages being portrayed for business in the town centre and investment into youth services.


The Leader was conscious of being told to spend less but spend more and how worse off families would have been if the plans for last year were agreed.  There would have been higher council tax increases and potential risk of bankruptcy.  Choices this Council had not made.  This Council were fully supporting the Towns and Villages Fund with £2 million to fund schemes like Wath and Dinnington


Councillor Bacon gave a point of explanation for his reasons of raising the availability of baby packs at the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board.


In his view it was the same old excuses about funding and the Council wasting money on cycle and bus lanes within the town centres whilst other areas were overlooked.  Opportunities had been wasted for decades.  These proposals were a well-managed budget plan to manage council tax and manage standards.


 Councillor Hughes expressed her support for the baby packs and questioned the rationale for the proposed changes around tree management and hate crime.


Councillor Hoddinott believed this budget amendment penalised families and their babies with assumptions about the cost-of-living crisis and the pressures that people were facing.  It was imperative that support channels were in place for families with links to children’s centres and schemes introduced to plug gaps.


Councillor Barley also failed to see what the amendment brought and was not in support.


Councillor Ball in his right to reply challenged the comments and the funding gaps that would need to be explored and the lack of vision by this administration for towns and villages.  Priorities needed to be rethought and the support to thriving neighbourhoods was not close enough to sort the problems.  There appeared to be a lack of vision and business acumen for towns and under this budget there would be real business programmes.  In reality thriving neighbourhoods needed a rethink and how this could be achieved and run alongside the bespoke high street proposal.  This budget was a starting point not an end and success would enable tapping into resources once it was set up.


This budget amendment invested in youth services, better parks and playgrounds and provided extra street cleaning for rural roads not just town centres.  Woodlands needed better maintenance and should be funded the vote for this amendment was urged.


The first amendment was then put to a vote and was lost.


The second amendment was then put to a vote and was lost.


The meeting now discussed the original substantive motion that had been moved by the Leader and seconded by Councillor Alam.


Councillor Allen reaffirmed her support to the Places Fund and continuation of the Community Leadership Fund aimed outside the town centre.  The Council was committed to housing investments putting money into homelessness prevention and temporary accommodation supported by the permanent Empty Homes Officer, £30 million for existing housing stock alongside £126 million additional investment in new Council housing.


There would always be budget challenges, but the work of the Cabinet should never be underestimated and Members were urged to support the budget as proposed.


Councillor Roche welcomed the support to adults and public health, thus providing high quality care despite the significant pressures on the ability to deliver services.  Funding within the budget would lead to better support for those that most needed it and on this basis Members were urged to support the proposals.


Councillor Sheppard commended the Council on this positive budget when others were facing financial struggles with potential Section 114 notices or even worse bankruptcy.  His professed his continued support to the lowest council tax increases whilst benefitting from a range of investments making the borough cleaner and greener, positive moves to the biodiversity changes net gain scheme, support to the Archives Service, further investment in the tree service and in the flood alleviation schemes.


Children deserved the best start in life.  This budget would invest in playgrounds and deliver wonderful places for children to play. 


Councillor Bennett-Sylvester welcomed the investment and agreed his own Ward had benefitted from the support provided.  He was particularly keen to see the delivery of play area funding and the new Bulky Waste Service.


He referred to the brown bin tax, the programme to replace concrete lampposts,  and the investment for extra cleaning and in doing so was still concerned about the handling of large capital projects.


He was pleased to see the increase in funding for Rothercare even though some fees were going up more than the rate of inflation.   He did not wish to see barriers, but welcomed the family friendly budget.


Councillor Tarmey was unable to support the budget and would have preferred further investment across all wards.  Businesses needed to be supported and whilst not against the concept of the market regeneration, the level of investment was not required.


Children needed the best support in life and the new baby packs were a sensible approach in reducing inequalities.  Whilst he was not in support of the budget, he did support this initiative.


Councillor Cusworth spoke in support of this family friendly budget.   After fourteen years of austerity too many children were going without the basics, living in destitution since the pandemic and this budget supported parents in giving their children the best start in life.


Councillor Ball could not support the budget and questioned the regeneration promises for outlaying towns and believed a change was needed.  He could not support the market project, but the family friendly approach sounded good, but these were only soundbites.


This budget headlined support to make towns and villages cleaner, but the vast majority of support was within the town centre, meaning some of the more deprived areas were not eligible nor would receive the regeneration they required.  The budget whilst reducing some fees promoted the baby pack initiative , but there appeared to be little to measure outcomes for Rotherham’s taxpayers.


In his right to reply the Leader addressed the comments made by those who were not in support of the budget and whilst there were some increases in fees and charges against the rate of inflation, the Council was very conscious of pressures on household budgets and the need to provide services.


In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, and the Council’s Constitution, a recorded vote was taken for this item as follows:-


For: The Mayor (Councillor Taylor), Councillors Alam, Allen, Andrews, Aveyard, Baker-Rogers, Beck, Bird, Bennett-Sylvester, Brookes, Browne, Clark, Cooksey, Cowen, Cusworth, Elliott, Ellis, Foster, Griffin, Haleem, Havard, Hoddinott, Hughes, Jones, Keenan, Khan, Lelliott, McNeely, Monk, Pitchley, Read, Roche, Sheppard, Wilson, Wyatt and Yasseen.


Against: Councillors Barley, A. Carter, C. Carter, Tarmey and Thompson.


Abstentions: Councillors Bacon, Ball, Barker, Baum-Dixon, Burnett, Castledine-Dack, T. Collingham, Z .Collingham, Fisher, Hall, Mills, Reynolds, Tinsley and Whomersley.


Resolved:  (1)  That the Budget and Financial Strategy for 2024/25, as set out in the report and appendices, including a basic Council Tax increase of 1.5% and an Adult Social Care precept of 2%, be approved.

(2)  That the extension to the Local Council Tax Support Top Up scheme, that will provide up to £121.96 of additional support to low-income households most vulnerable to rising household costs, through reduced Council Tax bills as described in Section 2.5.11-14 of the report submitted, be approved.


(3)  That the updated Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) to 2025/26, as described within Section 2.6 of the report submitted, be approved.


(4)  That the Reserves Strategy as set out in Section 2.8 of the report submitted, noting that the final determination of Reserves will be approved as part of reporting the financial outturn for 2023/24, be approved.


(5)  That the comments and advice of the Strategic Director of Finance and Customer Services (Section 151 Officer), provided in compliance with Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003, as to the robustness of the estimates included in the Budget and the adequacy of reserves for which the Budget provides (Section 2.14) be noted.


(6)  That the feedback from the public and partners following the public consultation on the Council’s budget for 2024/25 which took place from 8th December 2023 to 14th January 2024, attached as Appendix 4, be noted.


(7)  That the proposed increases in Adult Social Care provider contracts and for Personal Assistants as set out in Section 2.4 of the report submitted, be approved.


(8)  That the revenue investment proposals set out in Section 2.7 and Appendix 2 be approved.


(9)  That the Council Fees and Charges for 2024/25 attached as Appendix 7 be approved.


(10)  That the application of the Business Rates Reliefs as set out in Section 2.10 of the report submitted, in line with Government guidance, be approved.


(11)  That the proposed Capital Strategy and Capital Programme as presented in Section 2.12 and Appendices 3A to 3F be approved.


(12)  That the Treasury Management matters for 2024/25 as set out in Appendix 9 of the report including the Prudential Indicators, the Minimum Revenue Provision Policy, the Treasury Management Strategy and the Investment Strategy, be approved.


(13)  That the Flexible use of Capital Receipts Strategy 2024/25 (Appendix 5) be approved.


(14)  That the continuation of the principles and measures adopted since April 2020 to make faster payments to suppliers on receipt of goods, works and services following a fully reconciled invoice as described in Section 2.11 of the report submitted be approved.


(15)  That the Budget allocations for the Community Leadership Fund as set out in Section 2.9 of the report submitted be approved.


(16)  That the Capital Programme Budget continues to be managed in line with the following key principles:-


i.     Any underspends on the existing approved Capital Programme in respect of 2023/24 be rolled forward into future years, subject to an individual review of each carry forward to be set out within the Financial Outturn 2023/24 report to Cabinet.


ii.    In line with Financial and Procurement Procedure Rules 7.7 to 7.11 and 8.12, any successful grant applications in respect of capital projects will be added to the Council’s approved Capital Programme on an ongoing basis.


iii.   Capitalisation opportunities and capital receipts flexibilities will be maximised, with capital receipts earmarked to minimise revenue costs.

Supporting documents: