Issue - meetings

Budget Projection and Strategy 2024/25

Meeting: 27/07/2023 - Cabinet (Item 29)

29 Budget Projection and Strategy 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 545 KB

To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the associated report.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED – 

 

1.    That work continues towards reducing the projected budget deficit in line with the Budget Strategy, to report back in October and prior to the public consultation on the draft budget in December be approved.

 

2.    That the emerging Saving Plan be supported.

 

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To agree the form of consultation and begin the process of setting the budget for 2024/25.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Christopher Hall, Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, introduced Lee Colyer, Director of Finance, Policy and Development who presented the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       The Medium Term Financial Strategy projection of £7.298m projected for 2029/30 assumed that the Council didn’t make adjustments to manage the deficit during any of the years prior to 2029/30.

-       The consequence of the Council trying to find that level of savings, i.e. half of the Council’s net budget requirement, would result in the Council only being able to fund its statutory services.

-       It would be the responsibility of everyone to close that gap, which would involve making some difficult decisions.

-       The Council could not rely on inflation to come down and on the continuing vacancy factor.  Additionally, the Council couldn’t rely on current or higher interest rates.

-       Members had the opportunity to make decisions now that would cover the next 3 years that would set the Council on the right path to reducing the deficit and get the finances on a stable footing.

-       It wasn’t sustainable to rely on the vacancy factor to balance the books. 

 

RESOLVED – 

 

1.    That work continues towards reducing the projected budget deficit in line with the Budget Strategy, to report back in October and prior to the public consultation on the draft budget in December be approved.

 

2.    That the emerging Saving Plan be supported.

 

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To agree the form of consultation and begin the process of setting the budget for 2024/25.

 


Meeting: 11/07/2023 - Finance and Governance Cabinet Advisory Board (Item 19)

19 Budget Projection and Strategy 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 545 KB

To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Lee Colyer, Director of Finance, Policy and Development introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion and questions from Members including the following:

 

-       Town Hall occupational costs refer to the proposed co-working arrangements.

-       When the agreement came into force, the Council would be able to reduce its occupational costs.  The Council would pay less Business Rates, less cleaning costs etc.

-       There were two components of the financial benefits from the co-working arrangements.  The first was a reduction in the Council’s operating costs.  The Council would also receive rent.  However, the rent collected was not included as it would be needed to repay the capital costs associated with the works required to bring the building up to the standard required in order for it to be let.

-       Although it had not been possible for the last couple of years due to the pandemic, Councils should balance their revenue budget without recourse to using reserves.

-       Now the pandemic had settled, the Council was aware of how much it would get from Government, it needed to try and balance the budget in accordance with the income it had available, alongside the demands it had on its services. 

-       If necessary, the Council could temporarily dip into its reserves but it was noted that the Council had internal borrowing commitments that still needed to be repaid.  The use of reserves and the cost of repaying internal borrowing would bring the Council very close to its minimum level of reserves. 

-       The Council received interest on reserves, but the intention was to use the interest to fund the Council’s capital programme.

-       The graph included at 2.20 demonstrated that in the South East, public sector pay was considerably less than for the private sector.  The meant the Council faced particular challenges when trying to recruit staff.

-       The Council’s pension costs had held fairly stable.  This was primarily because of the returns and actuaries.  Local Government, used the revenue from pension contributions to acquire assets, which grow and generate returns.  Those returns were sufficient to meet the liabilities associated with the pension scheme. 

-       The Council took the decision to come out of national pay bargaining, so it had control of its own pay scheme and pay policy.  The Council had a very good relationship with its Union and was very transparent with salary details.

-       At this stage, a 5% increase in all establishment costs had been included.  Discussions would be ongoing, with regular benchmarking checks to the local market made.

-       The budget was set on the basis of the Council having a full complement of staff.  However, the Council understood that it would struggle to recruit to the optimum level and that there would be changes in staff throughout the year.

-       The Council netted off the vacancy factor, which for next year, had been set at £500,000.  The forecast budget had therefore already taken into account that it would not be able to recruit and/or  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19