Decision Maker: Executive
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The report sets out the Executive’s updated 3 year budget strategy, detailed revenue budget proposals for 2023/24 and Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for the period 2024/25 - 2025/26.
1) That it be recommend to Council that it :-
a) Approves the 2023/24 net Revenue Budget of £209.38m.
b) Approves the 2024/25 to 2025/26 Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) including the income and savings proposals.
c) Notes the continued arrangements in relation to an enhanced Finance and Change Programme and the role of the Finance and Change Board who will continue to work with the Executive on the development of sustainable budget plans to support the Council in meeting the financial challenges from 2024/25 onwards
d) Approves the calculation of the Council Tax Requirement as summarised in Section 8.1 and set out in the Formal Council Tax Resolution in Annex J (any update for changes in Mayoral Police and Crime Commissioner or Mayoral General (incl. Fire Services) Precepts, if any, will be tabled at the Council Meeting);
e) Approves the proposal to increase Council Tax by 4.99% in 2023/24:
a. 2.99% general increase in the ‘relevant basic amount’ in 2023/24, and
b. 2.0% for the ‘Adult Social Care’ precept in 2023/24.
f) Notes the assumptions in the MTFS to increase Council Tax by
a. An increase in the ‘relevant basic amount’ of 2.99% in 2024/25 and 1.99% 2025/26, and
b. for the ‘Adult Social Care’ precept in 2% in 2024/25 and 1% in 2025/26.
g) Approves the planned application of earmarked reserves as detailed in Section 6.
h) Approves the Fees and Charges for 2023/24 and those relating to Registration of Births, Death & Marriages and Allotments also shown for 2024/25, as set out in the Fees & Charges booklet.
i) Delegates authority jointly to each Corporate Director in consultation with the Council’s Director of Finance and Systems to amend fees and charges which are within their respective delegated powers during 2023/24 in the event of any change in VAT rate, as appropriate.
j) Delegates authority jointly to each Corporate Director in consultation with the Council’s Director of Finance and Systems to amend fees and charges during 2023/24 which are within their respective delegated powers where the economics of the charge levels have changed (e.g. costs have risen unexpectedly), or for commercial reasons.
k) Approves the virement of £100k from the Neighbourhood Grants budget for a period of two financial years to allow financial support towards the continuation of the Community Hubs.
l) Approves the proposal to maintain the minimum level of General Reserve for 2023/24 at £9.5m (Section 6.8).
m) Approves the Capital Strategy, Prudential and Local Indicators and overall level of the Capital Programme and Asset Investment Fund of £388.42m (as detailed in the Capital Strategy, Capital Programme & Prudential Indicators 2023/26) of which £200.58m relates to 2023/24; including the proposal in relation to £7.95m of new prudential borrowing related to the Leisure Strategy of £3.5m and £4.45m to support Local Authority Housing Fund.
n) Approves the Treasury Management Strategy 2023/24 to 2025/26, including the Debt Strategy (Section 4), the updated policy on Minimum Revenue Provision (Section 5) the Treasury Investment Strategy (Section 6) and the Prudential Indicators, including the Authorised Limit (as required by Section 3(1) of the Local Government Act 2003, Operational Boundary, Minimum Revenue Provision and investment criteria as set out in Appendix 2 of the report.
o) Approves the flexible use of capital receipts of up to £1.70m over the two years 2023 to 2025 to support the cost of the Modernisation Team in developing the Council’s Finance and Change Programme.
p) Approves the proposed distribution of Dedicated Schools Grant as recommended by the School Funding Forum and Executive as summarised in Section 7 and detailed in Annex I.
q) Due to the late publication of the Public Health Grant allocations, delegates authority to the Director of Finance and Systems to vary the net Revenue Budget for any changes in the assumed level of this grant.
r) Delegate authority to the Director of Finance and Systems in consultation with the Executive Member for Finance and Governance to administer the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Fund (EBSSAF) scheme as announced in December 2022. Guidance is yet to be released, and costs will be fully funded by a section 31 grant.
s) Approves the declaration to be made of the Council’s intention to charge up to 100% premium on second homes with effect from 1st April 2024 and to bring forward the time period under which a premium can be charged on empty properties from two years to one year. The declaration must be done 12 months prior to commencement as laid out in the draft Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and is subject to its formal approval.
2) That it be confirmed that in recommending approval of the above, the Executive has taken into consideration:
a) The objective assessment by the Director of Finance and Systems of the robustness of budget estimates and adequacy of the financial reserves (Section 1 and 6).
b) The Executive’s response to the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations to the budget proposals as included in a separate report on the agenda.
c) The Council’s Public Sector Equality duty.
d) The results of the consultation on the budget proposals where required.
e) The changes to the Council Tax Support Fund 2023/24 as detailed in a separate report to the Executive on 23 January 2023.
3) That, in addition, it be recommended that Council notes the following:
a) The approval on 17 January 2023 under delegated powers by the Director of Finance and Systems of the Council Tax Base for 2023/24 at 78,464 Band D equivalents.
b) The estimated Council Tax surplus for 2022/23 has been calculated at £0.473m, sufficient to release £0.385m to support the Council’s budget plans and a distribution of £0.061m and £0.027m representing the respective shares of the Mayoral Police and Crime Commissioner Precept and Mayoral General Precept (including Fire Services).
c) The base budget assumptions as set out in the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) as detailed in Annex A.
d) The budget gap for the two years 2024/25, £6.95m and 2025/26, £10.13m.
e) That the Capital Programme for 2023/24, 2024/25 and 2025/26 is to be set at an indicative £200.58m, £132.39m and £55.45m respectively (indicative at this stage as a number of capital grants are not yet known).
f) That the Council Tax figures included in the report for the Mayoral Police and Crime Commissioner Precept and Mayoral General Precept (including Fire Services) are the recommended provisional amounts pending their formal approval.
Publication date: 20/02/2023
Date of decision: 15/02/2023
Decided at meeting: 15/02/2023 - Executive