[Report of the Interim Chief Financial Officer. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Health.]The Cabinet will consider the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018/19 - 2022/23 including the Capital Programme. These documents will be released for consultation and Scrutiny consideration .
The Cabinet Member for Finance and Health introduced the report which set out the Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2018/19-2022/23 which now reflected and refined the priorities for the challenges that the Council and its residents and businesses faced. This was based on further reductions in resources over the next 5 years.
The Cabinet Member outlined that this report builds on the Medium Term Financial Strategy agreed last year. The Cabinet Member reiterated the present challenging financial period. There had been a 63% reduction in real terms to council budget at a time when more support was required to residents that were living longer with complex needs and at a time of increased homelessness. The Council had previously taken the decision to freeze Council Tax and this would continue. The levy for social care precept for adult social care to support pressures would be applied.
The Cabinet Member reminded the meeting that, in this financial year, the Council had accessed £8.8m of reserves to help smooth effects of cuts. The Council would also need to rely on reserves in 2018/19and it was proposed to access a further £7.5m. This was not sustainable long term solution but at the moment a reasonable step. The budget would therefore have a £15m gap which would need to tackled in the next and future financial years.
In response to Councillor Morris questions:
· Council housing rent charges for 2018/19;
· Proposed weekly tenants service charges 2018/19;
· HRA hostels rent charges for 2018/19.
Reasons for decision
The Council has a statutory requirement to set a balanced budget for 2018/19 and this report forms a key part of the budget setting process by setting out the likely funding and expenditure for that year. Additionally, in order to ensure the Council’s finances for the medium term are put on a sound basis, this report also sets out the funding and expenditure assumptions for the following four years in the form of a Medium Term Financial Strategy.
Alternative options considered
This report recommends that the Cabinet should consider proposals to deliver a balanced and sustainable MTFS over the five-year period 2018/19 to 2022/23, to be reviewed further at Cabinet in February, and ultimately adopted at the final budget meeting of Full Council in February 2018, which is a statutory requirement in terms of agreeing the Council’s 2018/19 budget.
Clearly there are a number of options available to achieve a balanced budget and officers have developed the proposals for determining levels of both income and service provision in this report taking account of the Council’s priorities, the extent of the estimated funding shortfall and the Council’s overall financial position.
These proposals are subject to consultation both externally and through the Overview & Scrutiny process and the outcomes of these will inform the final budget proposals.