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Medium Term Financial Strategy and Budget Proposals 2023/24

Meeting: 08/02/2023 - Executive (Item 154)

154 Medium Term Financial Strategy and Budget Proposals 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 216 KB

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1.  The outcome of consideration of budget proposals by the Policy Advisory Committees be noted;


2.  The Budget Growth and Savings Proposals set out in Appendix A to the report be agreed;


3.  The first £300,000 of 2023/24 unringfenced government grant be allocated for spatial policy and planmaking, with a further £400,000 transferred to the pay envelope for the staff budget, with the remaining balance transferred to the Housing Investment Fund, to be used to subsidise the Council’s Affordable Housing programme be agreed;


4.  The updated Strategic Revenue Projection set out in Appendix B to the report, subject to amendment as appropriate arising out of recommendation three be agreed;


5.  A £8.19 annual increase in Band D Council Tax for 2023/24 for recommendation to Council be agreed;


6.  The Revised Estimates for 2022/23 and the Budget Estimates for 2023/24 set out in Appendix C, for recommendation to Council be agreed;


7.  The Capital Programme set out at Appendix D for recommendation to Council be agreed;


8.  The Treasury Management Strategy, Investment Strategy and Capital Strategy set out in Appendix E to the report, for recommendation to Council be agreed;


9.  The projected level of General Fund balances in Appendix F to the report exceeds the agreed minimum level of £4 million be noted;


10.  The updated Medium Term Financial Strategy set out in Appendix G to the report, subject to amendment as appropriate arising out of recommendation three be agreed;


11.  Council be recommended the appropriate matters for decision to set a balanced budget for 2023/24 and the necessary level of Council Tax in accordance with the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and the Localism Act 2011 including the decisions made above, and


12.  The Council be recommended that it makes provision to implement with effect from 1 April 2024 the measures in the Regeneration and Levelling-up Bill to reduce the period before charging a Council Tax premium on empty property from two years to one and to charge a Council Tax premium on second homes.

(See Record of Recommendation to Council)



Meeting: 06/02/2023 - Corporate Services Policy Advisory Committee (Item 111)

111 Medium Term Financial Strategy and Budget Proposals 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 217 KB

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The Lead Member for Corporate Services introduced the report, stating that the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and budget Proposals 2023/24 had been extensively discussed by the Executive and the Policy Advisory Committees in the past few months. The report recommendations were outlined, with particular attention drawn to recommendation 13 and point 2.18 of the report, which referred to the Executive proposal to use £400,000 of the Funding Guarantee (FG) to increase the staff pay budget. The subsidy required for the Affordable Homes Programme was highlighted as being significant, with the Executive wishing to maximise the contributions to the Housing Investment Fund (HIF) to support the subsidy required.


It was stated that the Council’s policy had previously been to avoid using one-off sources of funding to support revenue expenditure, but that an exception had already been made to allocate £300,000 of the FG to support spatial policy and plan-making, with a further exception to increase staff reward felt to be suitable. It was stated that the government had recognised that many Local Authorities were in a difficult financial position, having faced increased financial pressures in recent years, with the FG to support the authority’s general finances and that further funding could be provided in future years. If an additional £400,000 was added to the staff pay budget, the amount to be transferred to the HIF would still be significant, which posed a risk to future funding of the Affordable Homes Programme, but this was felt to be a balanced risk. The importance of Member-Officer relationships was emphasised, with it stated that staff pay had in some cases fallen behind the median level used for comparison purposes and that this should be increased with the cost-of-living crisis referenced.


The Director of Finance, Resources and Business Improvement addressed the Committee and stated that the Executive’s recommendation to allocated £400,000 of the FG to the staff pay budget was not an officer recommendation. It was a one-off funding source, and a long-term view was required to support the Council’s Affordable Homes Programme and ensure the Council’s financial resilience. The difficulty of planning ahead, for example through having to wait for the annual Local Government Finance Settlement, was referenced as context. It was not prudent to use one-off sources of funding for ongoing costs.  


The Leader of the Council addressed the Committee and re-emphasised the importance of looking after the Council’s staff, particularly given increased inflation and bills, alongside the proposal to use part of the FG to support spatial policy and plan-making which was revenue expenditure. The Leader of the Council stated that he thought that the government would provide further one-off financial support next year.


The Committee expressed strong support for providing an increased pay budget for the Council’s staff, as contained within point 2.18 of the report. References were made to the increased inflation and the ongoing cost-of- living crisis, particularly for the staff on lower pay grades, and the importance of retaining the good, well experienced staff working at the Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 111