Agenda item

2022-23 Budget and 2022-2027 Medium Term Financial Strategy Report

[Report of the Director of Finance.  To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Transformation]


The Cabinet Member for Finance and Transformation introduced the report which set out details of the draft General Fund (GF) Budget for 2022/23 and Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2022/27, including estimated income (funding) and expenditure adjustments and new and revised capital proposals at a Priority level. The report recommended that budget proposals be released for public consultation and Scrutiny consideration.


The Cabinet Member and Officers responded to questions from the Cabinet:

-           The backdrop for this budget was different to previous years – the Government have made some three-year declarations in terms of fundings.  The report does point out that there is a short-term improvement in the resourcing of the Authority from the Government.  The major increase year on year on resources comes from Council Tax and not from government grants. The local government financial settlement was due soon and the position may change to the information set out in the report.

-           Temporary accommodation was one of the main challenges for the council.  There had been lower than normal collection rates due to the difficulties in maintaining the direct relationship with the families concerned, which could affect ensuring that benefit claims and universal credit claims were in place.  Officers were working on a piece of work to catch up with current and future years position.

-           There was no further information available on how the national capital allocation would be distributed for Special Needs support.


The Cabinet Member and Officers responded to questions from Councillor Cawley-Harrison:

-           Whenever the Council took on loans, the cost of the loan was factored into the new accounts, along with any other income and outgoings.

-           This budget was very different to those of recent years as no new savings were being put forward for consultation.  However, there were some level of material savings to be put in place that had been agreed in previous budgets.  The medium to longer term financial situation would require some new solutions, which would take time over the next year to be thought through and developed.


RESOLVED that Cabinet


1.         Note the initial General Fund revenue and capital budget proposals and financial planning assumptions set out in this report and note that they will be refined and updated after the final Local Government Finance Settlement is received in January 2022 and also to incorporate further budget changes as required;


2.         Note the Draft General Fund 2022/23 Budget and MTFS (2022-27) detailed in this report and Appendix 1;


3.         Note the Draft revenue and capital budget growth proposals summarised in Sections 7 and 8 and Appendices 2 and 5;


4.         Note the Draft General Fund Capital Programme for 2022/23 to 2026/27 as set out in Appendix 4;


5.         Note the Draft Housing Revenue Account (HRA) revenue and Capital Programme proposals and HRA Business Plan as set out in Section 9;


6.         Note the 2022/23 Draft Dedicated Schools Budget (DSB) and update on the DSG reserve position set out in Section 10;


7.         Note that the detailed proposals will be submitted to Overview and Scrutiny Committee / Panels in December 2021 and January 2022 for scrutiny and comments;


8.         Agree to commence consultation with residents, businesses, partners, staff and other groups on the 2022/23 Budget and MTFS 2022-2027;


9.         Note that an updated 2022/23 Budget and MTFS (2022-27) will be put to Cabinet on 22nd February 2022 to be recommended for approval to the Full Council meeting taking place on 1st March 2022;


10.       Delegate the final decision on whether or not to participate in the proposed 8 borough business rates pool from 1 April 2022 to the Director of Finance in conjunction with the Lead Member for Finance. 


Reasons for decision


The Council has a statutory requirement to set a balanced budget for 2022/23 and this report forms a key part of the budget setting process by setting out the forecast funding and expenditure for that year. Additionally, in order to ensure the Council’s finances for the medium term are maintained 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


The Cabinet must consider how to deliver a balanced 2022/23 Budget and sustainable MTFS over the five-year period 2022/27, to be reviewed and ultimately adopted at the meeting of Full Council on 1st March 2022.


Clearly there are options available to achieve a balanced budget and the Council has developed the proposals contained in this report after determining levels of both income and service provision. These take account of the Council’s priorities, the extent of the estimated funding shortfall, the estimated impact of wider environmental factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic 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.

Supporting documents: