Agenda and draft minutes

Business and Finance Scrutiny Committee - Monday 9 January 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: The Telford Room, Addenbrooke House, Ironmasters Way, Telford, TF3 4NT

Contact: Kieran Robinson  01952 382061

Items
No. Item

BFSC1

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None.

BFSC2

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – that the minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2022 be confirmed and signed by the Chair.

BFSC3

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023/24 - 2026/27 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To consider the draft budget proposals agreed by Cabinet on 5 January 2023, to consider any alternative budget proposals put forward and to agree items for further scrutiny.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) presented the report. The presentation set out the position of the Council as it approached the end of the 2022/2023 financial year, followed by an overview of funding streams and savings that had been made since 2009/2010.

 

For 2023/2024, there was a provisional funding settlement covering one year. This was the fifth consecutive one-year settlement from central government. This was a challenge, such short-term settlements made it difficult to plan ahead. The government had issued policy guidance offering some guidance for 2024/2025 but this guidance did not include figures.

 

The Committee heard a summary of the proposals contained within the strategy. This was a continuation of the existing strategy. There would be an additional net new investment of over £7.26m in Adult Social Care and £2.5m in Children’s Safeguarding. The total net budget for these two areas would be over £100m. Further budget savings of £7.9m were proposed, with the use of £5.95m of the £6m of reserves that had been released to phase in further budget savings in 2024/2025.

 

The level of general council tax would be frozen for an additional year; however, the Government’s 2% Adult Social Care precept would be applied in the next year. The Council currently has the second lowest council tax of any unitary authority in England. The average council tax at Band D was 15% higher than in Telford and Wrekin.  The average council tax bill in Band D in the Midlands was £228 more expensive than in Telford. Council tax is currently the lowest in the Midlands for the services that this Council provides and it was expected this would continue the following year.

 

Members were informed of details of the medium-term capital programme. These included:

-       Over £74m of support for additional Growth Fund initiatives.

-       In excess of £70m for the further development of NuPlace and Telford & Wrekin Homes.

-       £40m investment for transport and highways schemes.

-       £40m for education capital projects.

-       Over £20m for housing initiatives.

-       £14m for Telford Land Deal projects.

 

An overview of NuPlace followed. NuPlace provided high-quality, well-maintained homes as a long-term responsible landlord and had delivered 479 homes across ten sites. Since its inception to the end of 2021/2022, it had provided a net incremental income of £7.89m, plus £4m in council tax and New Homes Bonus in total by the end of March 2023. There had been strong capital growth, cumulative growth in the portfolio stood at 29% at the end of March 2022.

 

As the Section 151 Officer, the CFO had to comment on the robustness of the strategy. The Council had a fifteen consecutive year record of closing within budget and had a strong record of delivering on savings that had been committed to. The strategy contained a good level of in-year contingency at £3.95m for 2023/2024, had allowances of £10.7m for inflation and pay awards, and had a Budget Strategy Reserve of £21.7m. Additionally, the Council had good governance processes which contributed to  ...  view the full minutes text for item BFSC3

BFSC4

Chair's Update

Minutes:

None.