Agenda item

Budget 2023/24 and Medium Term Financial Strategy

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the recommendations set out in the associated report.


The Mayor exercised his discretion under Council Procedures Rule 13.4.4 to allow leaders of each political party more than 10 minutes to speak.


Councillor Hall moved, and Councillor Hayward seconded, the recommendations set out in the report.



Mr Robert Banks had registered to speak, which included the following comments:

·         The draft Budget consultation was presented to the finance and governance CAB earlier this year, Mr Colyer gave a verbal summary of the result, there is no record in the minutes of any discussion relating to this consultation

·         The results were formally presented at subsequent Cabinet meeting, the three main areas where the responded wish to reduce the budget on 11 discretionary services

·         Band D council, Amelia Scott property and development and the Assembly Hall and reallocate the increased funding to recreational and climate change initiatives. Ranked the 3 most important not surprisingly was Rubbish, Recycling and Street Cleaning

·         Public should be used to inform the significant changes to the range of services that can be afforded



Debate on the motion included the following comments:

  • Thanks were given to officers who had provided input into the 2023/24 Budget report (Candlin, Colyer, Fineman)
  • Thanks, was also shown to Councillor Hickey for laying the groundwork which provided the starting point of the report.
  • 2023/24 Budget has been set during turbulent times.
  • Income and expenditure are no longer safe and predictable, and new ways of managing finances must be called upon.
  • The war in Ukraine, and the immediate impact on energy costs, rampant inflation of over 10%, labour market shortage and erratic and unpredictable revenue support from central government have made the task of running a business challenging.
  • Financial year 2022/23 called upon £944k from reserves to bridge the funding gap from the previous administration.
  • Previously stated the predicted losses in the Mid Term Financial strategy are concerning and appear to have no viable associated mitigation plan.
  • The Borough Partnership made, Safeguarding the Councils Finances is one of the Focus on Five priorities, choosing not to ‘Wait and See.’
  • Raising fees and charges including car parking fees, since 2017, was a necessary measure to address the deficit and protect the councils’ services.
  • Council delivered a Community Support Fund of £100K of grants to help the neediest, which was delivered in time for winter.
  • Additional revenues from car parking charges will raise more revenues in the coming financial year
  • Other Council fees and charges for services were uplifted by an average of 5.9% in November.
  • After some excellent treasury management by the Finance Team our expected return on Council’s investment led to an additional £750,000 in income.
  • Despite this, impact of inflation in the economy has wiped out most of these gains with energy costs to the Council doubling over the financial year to £300k
  • Costs to the council of contract indexation and additional payments to maintain statutory services, driven by inflation have equated to £1.29m.
  • Revenue support from central government remains sporadic, uncertain, and overly centralised.
  • The New Home Bonus is unclear, our contribution was significantly reduced with a one-off minimum support grant to ensure councils have a 3% increase in spending power.
  • 50% of the public consultation support the approach to increase Council Tax by 2.95% from Ap1 April 2023.
  • Key priorities are 1) Exploring new revenue streams and raising extra revenue where possible 2) Finding efficiencies within the budget and delivering a saving plan 3) extracting more value from our assets and rationalising those that are no longer in the interest of the public or the Council.
  • Since the coalition took power in May the projected budget deficit for 2023/24 stood at £2.64m, was down to £1.4m in December, and now stands at £943k to be drawn from reserves.
  • Safeguarding the Council’s Finances are on track, but given the situation inherited it will take longer than a 1 year in budget cycle.



The Mayor took a recorded vote on the motion in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 15.7.


Members who voted for the Motion: Councillors Atkins, Britcher-Allen, Barras, Brice, Chapelard, Ellis, Everitt, Fitzsimmons, Funnel, Hayward, (Christopher) Hall, (Linda) Hall, Hickey Hill, Knight, Le Page, Lidstone, McMillan, Moon, Morton, Patterson, Pope, Poile, Pound, Rands, Rogers, Rutland, Sankey, Wakeman, Warne, Wormington, Willis.(32)



Members who voted against the Motion: Councillors: Allen, Attwood, Barrington-King, Bland, Dawlings, Fairweather, Goodship, March, (Ms) Palmer, Roberts, White (11)


Members who abstained from voting: Councillor Bailey (1)





  1. That Council considers the changes to the base budget along with the assumptions and approach detailed throughout the report.
  2. That Council considers the responses to the budget consultation.
  3. That Council approves the use of £943,000 from reserves to balance the revenue budget.
  4. That Council approves the rolling forward of the capital programme including additional gross funding of £620,000 for new schemes listed within the report
  5. That Council approves an increase in the ‘Basic Amount’ of Council Tax of £5.71 (2.95 per cent) for 2023/24 for a Band D property.
  6. That Council approves the Pay Policy Statement 2023/24 set out in Appendix E; and
  7. That Council approves the implementation of 100 per cent Council Tax premium on second homes from 1 April 2024 and to approve the application of 100 per cent Council Tax premium on properties that have been empty for at least 1 year (currently 2 years) from 1 April 2024, should the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill receive Royal accent.


Supporting documents: