Agenda item

Draft Budget Proposals for 2022/23

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Waste Services.

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To present to Cabinet the draft budget estimates for 2022/23, revenue and capital, for both the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account and provided the details that had been included in the budget proposals.

 

Decision

 

Cabinet:

 

1.    Supported the budget proposals for 2022/23 in respect of:

 

-       General Fund – Revenue and Capital

-       Housing Revenue Account – Revenue and Capital

 

2.    Approved consultation in respect of proposed Council Tax levels for 2022/23 for the period 14 – 28 January 2022 (inclusive).

 

3.    Supported the removal of the Bourne Special Expense Area budgets from 1 April 2022.

 

4.    Supported the proposed fees and charges for 2022/23 as set out in Appendix B of the report.

 

5.    Approved the following proposed movements in reserves:

 

-       £1.581m from the Budget Stabilisation reserve in order to transfer resources to:

 

·         £1m to the Regeneration reserve

·         £331k to the Maintenance reserve

·         £250k to the Invest to Save reserve

 

-       Removal of the Commercialisation reserve and transfer the balance of £250k to the Invest to Save reserve

-       Use of the additional 2022/23 grants totalling £604k be transferred to the maintenance reserve.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected

 

The report presented several options which Cabinet considered.

 

Reason for decision

 

The budget setting process commenced in September 2021 and the proposals had been formulated by the Cabinet, working closely with senior officers, through a number of budget sessions. The workshops focussed on the spending ambitions of the Council to drive forward the Corporate Plan within the financial parameters and budget discussions had also been held in the context of a financially challenging 2021/22 where the Council continued to forecast a General Fund deficit position.

 

The report comprehensively covered the following aspects of the budget:

 

·         The funding position for the General Fund.

·         The draft General Fund budget proposals.

·         The Housing Revenue Account position.

·         Fees and charges.

·         The Capital Programmes 2022/23 to 2024/25.

·         The Capital Financing Statement.

·         Reserves and balances.

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Waste Services presented the report and explained each of the respective sections of the report. The following points were noted:

 

·         The Budget Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 12 January 2022 had considered the budget proposals. No amendments or recommendations from the Committee were proposed.

·         The Government had only announced a one-year financial settlement which had presented challenges in terms of considering budgets for future years. The elements of the financial settlement announced by the Government on 15 December 2021 for 2022/23 had not resulted in any changes to the Council’s proposals.

·         Table 3 set out an unbalanced position for future years, however, this would be subject to subsequent Government financial settlement announcements. It also reflected changes to the Government’s funding formula and borrowing costs due to the investment in the Deepings Leisure Centre.

·         The Companies Committee would consider specific objectives relating to respective companies at its meeting on 25 January 2022.

·         Food waste collections would be suspended until rolled out nationally so there was no provision for this in the 2022/23 budget.

 

During discussion the following comments were noted:

·         Local Authorities continued to face financial challenges on a nation-wide basis, with some having to issue Section 114 Notices. South Kesteven District Council was not in that position as it was being fiscally responsible in terms of its budget and corporate ambitions and objectives.

·         The Council remained ambitious, and the budget proposals emphasised this with commitments to Council home improvements, the challenge of addressing climate change, improving mental health and driving forward the local economy.

·         The proposed budget represented sustainability but also value for money.

·         There remained an ambition to increase the number of electric car charging points across the district, particularly faster charging points. The main problem, however, was that the national grid did not have sufficient capacity with upgrades required which was outside of the Council’s control.

·         The increase in personnel and fuel costs remained a general concern in relation to the grounds maintenance contract uplift.

·         The proposed increase in Council Tax could have a significant impact on some households already struggling. It was noted that the Council Tax Support Scheme was in place which people could access if they were eligible for such support. An assurance was also provided that the Council’s staff in the Customer Services and Revenues and Benefits Teams would also signpost people to the relevant support should they be identified as being in financial hardship.

 

In closing the Leader, on behalf of Cabinet, thanked the Assistant Director of Finance and Section 151 and his team for the significant amount of work they had undertaken on the budget proposals.

Supporting documents: