Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023/24 – 2026/27


Councillor R C Evans, Cabinet Member: Finance, Governance & Customer Services presented the report of the Director: Finance & HR which set out how the Council would deliver the Strategy and its five key priorities. It sought approval of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy together with the budget framework for 2023/24.


It was noted that there had been a significant increase in demand for services and higher costs, particularly in relation to the provision of Adult Social Care and energy costs. There was a freeze on the general portion of Council Tax for the year, with a 2% rise in relation to the Adult Social Care precept.


The meeting adjourned at 19.54.


The meeting resumed at 20.03.


In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a recorded vote was taken on the recommendations as follows: -


For (30)

Councillors M Boylan, A J Burford, E Callear, L D Carter, G H Cook, S Davies, A R H England, R C Evans, C Healy, A S Jhawar, J Jones, G C W Latham-Reynolds, J Lavery, A D McClements, R Mehta, K Middleton, G Offland, R A Overton, I Preece, S A W Reynolds, S J Reynolds, H Rhodes, K S Sahota, P J Scott, C F Smith, B J Thompson, C R Turley, P R Watling, B Wennington, D R W White.


Against (10)

Councillors S Bentley, S P Burrell, E J Carter, N A Dugmore, A J Eade, J Gough, M B Hosken, A Lawrence, T J Nelson, J M Seymour


Abstain (5)

Councillors K T Blundell, E J Greenaway, T L B Janke, K T Tomlinson, W L Tomlinson.


RESOLVED – that:


a)    The following be approved:

a.    The Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for 2023/24-2026/27 and the budget framework for 2023.24 set out in the suite of reports;

b.    The second year of the freeze of the general Council Tax level announced last year;

c.    The application of the Government’s 2% Adult Social Care Precept in 2023/24;

d.    The net investment of a further £7.26m into Adult Social Care in 2023/24;

e.    The net investment of £2.5m into Children’s Safeguarding in 2023/24;

f.     The budget savings listed in Appendix 10 of the report totalling £7.931m in 2023/24;

g.    The continuation of work with partner organisations, including Town & Parish Councils and Voluntary Sector and Community Groups to seek to identify ways to mitigate the impact of some of the cuts to services that we can no longer afford to deliver and to note the availability of the Invest to Save/Capacity Fund which is available to support partnership working;

h.    The base budget in Appendix 8 of the report;

i.     The policy framework for Reserves and Balances and their planned use outlined in Appendix 6 of the report;

j.     The Risk Register included at Appendix 14 of the report;

k.    The adoption of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, a link to which is included within Appendix 16 of the report, ready for implementation from 1 April 2023;

l.     The continuation of a Council Tax Reduction Hardship Assistance Policy including an addendum for 2023/24, also within Appendix 16 of the report;

m.  The revenue implications of the medium-term capital programme for the period 2022/23 – 2026/27 set out in the Capital Strategy and Programme reports also on the agenda;

n.    Authority be delegated to the Director: Finance & Human Resources, after consultation with the Cabinet Member: Finance, Governance & Customer Services, to action any virements required, following the final allocation of the Dedicated Schools Grant and other Grants and following completion of NNDR1 and final estimates of Business Rates Income;

o.    Authority be delegated to the Executive Director: Adult Social Care, Health Integration & Wellbeing, after consultation with the Cabinet Member: Adult Social Care and Health, Integration & Transformation, to enter into appropriate Section 256 and Section 75 Agreements under the NHS Act 2006 (as amended);

p.    Authorisation of the Director: Policy & Governance to execute all necessary contract documentation including the affixing of the common seal of the Council as appropriate to enable the Council to enter into appropriate Section 256 and Section 75 Agreements under the NHS Act 2006 (as amended);

q.    The suite of MTFS reports as the Council’s Efficiency Strategy for 2022/23 and 2023/24, including the document at Appendix 13 of the report, to enable new capital receipts to be used to fund the revenue costs of transformation and efficiency projects as assumed throughout these reports;

r.     Authority be delegated to the Director: Finance & HR, after consultation with the Cabinet Member: Finance, Governance & Customer Services, to amend the use of balances in 2023/24 and to make any other associated adjustments to accommodate any difference in funding between that currently assumed and final grant allocations when received;

s.    Authority be delegated to the Director: Finance & HR, after consultation with the Cabinet Member: Finance, Governance & Customer Services, to make changes to the Medium-Term Financial Strategy with immediate effect to reflect all grants received from Government with authority to incur associated spend;

t.     The Pay Policy for 2023/24 included at Appendix 17 of the report;

u.    The application of a 100% Council Tax premium to second homes from 1 April 2024 and that the premium of 100% on long-term empty homes should be applied after 12 months rather than 24 months from 1 April 2024 provided that the necessary legislation is in place by that date and that authority be delegated to the Director: Finance & HR to finalise the detailed policies required after consultation with the Cabinet Member: Finance, Governance & Customer Services;

v.    The Capital Strategy for 2023/24;

w.   The Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023/24 – 2026/27: Capital Programme report and associated capital estimates for 2022/23 and 2023/24 to 2026/27, which incorporates the Capital Programme (Appendix A of the report), the Planned Building Maintenance Programme (Appendix B of the report) and the two year Highways and Transport capital investment programme (Appendix C of the report);

x.    Authority be delegated to the following, in line with the approved budgets and any variations or changes to schemes in these programmes which must remain within overall approved budgets, after consultation with the appropriate Cabinet Members:

                                         i.    The Director: Prosperity & Investment to deliver the planned programme of works within the ‘Asset Management Plan’ and Planned Building Maintenance Programme (Appendix B of the report)

                                        ii.    The Director: Neighbourhood & Enforcement Services to deliver the Highways and Transport Capital Investment Programme (Appendix C of the report)

                                      iii.    The Director: Communities, Customer & Commercial Services to allocate the block approvals for climate change initiatives.

y.    The planned building capital maintenance programme priorities for 2023/24;

z.    The planned Highways and Transport Capital Investment programme for 2023/24 – 2024/25;

aa. Authority be delegated to the Director: Neighbourhood & Enforcement Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member: Neighbourhood Services, Regeneration and the High Street and the Cabinet Member: Housing, Enforcement & Transport for agreeing any variations or changes to schemes in the capital programme that remain within the overall approved budget limits;

bb.                 The Investment Strategy for 2023/24;

cc.  The treasury Strategy 2023/24 (Appendix B of the report), including the Annual Investment Strategy, together with the Minimum Revenue Provision Statement (Appendix B of the report, section 3.0 which will apply from 2022/23 onwards) and Treasury Management Prudential Indicators (Appendix Bii of the report);

dd.                 The prudential indicators proposed in the 2023/24 Prudential Indicators Report;

b)   The following be noted;

a.    The initial projections for the potential budget gap included in this report through to 2026/27 and that these will continue to be updated as additional information becomes available and that work will commence to identify options for how the future budget gap can be bridged;

b.    The CFO’s robustness statement in Appendix 15 of the report;

c.    The very high level of uncertainty relating to the medium-term financial outlook for the Council due to:

·         National and International economic pressures resulting in an extremely challenging financial outlook for UK public services;

·         Rapidly rising costs including energy, food and interest rates which place pressure on the Council’s own budgets;

·         The impact of rising interest rates, the highest rates of inflation for 40 years and a potential economic recession on our residents and businesses resulting in the Council declaring a cost-of-living emergency at Full Council on 10 November;

·         The cost-of-living emergency resulting in escalating demand for many Council services adding to the financial pressures facing the Council;

·         The Government’s one-year provisional local government finance settlement not extending beyond the end of March 2024;

·         The significant potential changes to the local government finance system which have now been discussed by the Government for many years are now unlikely to be introduced before the next general election but remain a major uncertainty, as does the potential impact of Adult Social Care funding reforms which have been delayed until October 2025.

d.    That this high level of uncertainty requires the Council to retain flexibility by limiting new ongoing investments to our highest priorities whilst identifying additional budget savings to ensure a balanced budget for next year and over the medium-term;

e.    That this considerable level of uncertainty together with the local elections due in May 2023, which will result in a new Administration with a new mandate, combine to make it appropriate to set only a one-year detailed budget for 2023/24 within the wider context of this overall MTFS;

f.     The treasury management activities to 31 December 2022 (Appendix A of the report);

g.    The Treasury Management Policy Statement (Appendix B of the report, section 4.0).

Supporting documents: