Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022/23


The Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance and Customer Services presented the report of the Director: Finance & H.R. (Chief Financial Officer).


The report being presented was broadly the same as that presented at the 6 January 2022 meeting with the addition of an updated risk register, details of the Council’s tax reduction policy, pay policy, and efficiency strategy. It was accompanied by previously agreed strategies with updated budgets and schemes of work; these included the capital strategy that set out the long-term context of decision-making, supported by detailed programme reports covering building investment and highway and transport programmes. The final part of the report included a prudential indicator report together.


Members’ attention was drawn to Appendix 17. The document was a variation to the West Mercia Energy Joint Agreement that would provide more equitable distribution of surpluses. This would have a minimal impact on the Council.


Members welcomed the report and thanked staff for their hard work. The Council continued to invest in the Borough and strived to improve the lives of residents at what was a challenging time for many across the country,


The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group welcomed the report and stated his Group’s support for the budget. Support was noted in particular for NuPlace and the Borough’s growth fund.


The Leader of the Conservative Group stated concern at the level of the Council’s debt. In response, the Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance and Customer Services stated that there were a number of documents in the report that advised on this matter, such as the prudential indicators report. The Council’s borrowing had been sensible and prudent.


RESOLVED – that Cabinet


Approve the following recommendations for consideration by full Council on 3 March 2022:-


1.         To approve the MTFS for 2022/23 – 2025/26 and the budget framework for 2022/23 set out in this suite of reports.

2.         To approve a 2 year freeze of the general Council Tax level.

3.         To apply the Government’s 1% Adult Social Care Precept in 2022/23.

4.         To approve the investment of a further £5.16m into Adult Social Care in 2022/23 rising to £6.96m in 2023/24.

5.         To approve net investment of £1.31m in to Children’s Safeguarding in 2022/23.

6.         To approve the budget savings listed in Appendix 13 totalling £5.656m in 2022/23 rising to £8.34m (after “leakage”) in 2023/24.

7.         To approve 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 and to note the availability of the Invest to Save/Capacity Fund which is available to support partnership working. 

8.         To approve the base budget in Appendix 6.

9.         To approve the use of £0.220m special fund balances for works at Castle Green Cemetery

10.       To approve the use of £250k from the Invest to Save/Capacity   Fund to support the development of “shovel-ready” schemes to maximise the Council’s ability to receive funding from national           challenge funding opportunities.

11.       To approve the policy framework for Reserves and Balances and         their planned use outlined in Appendix 9.

12.       To note the CFO’s robustness statement in Appendix 10.

13.       To approve the Risk Register included at Appendix 3.

14.       That Cabinet endorses the Council Tax Reduction Scheme a link to which is included within Appendix 14, for adoption by Full Council on 3 March 2022, ready for implementation from 1 April 2022. 

15.       That Cabinet approves the continuation of a Council Tax Reduction Hardship Assistance Policy within Appendix 14.


16.       To approve the revenue implications of the medium term capital programme for the period 2021/22 - 2025/26 set out in the Capital Strategy and Programme reports also on this agenda. 


17.       To approve a delegation to the Chief Executive, after consultation with the Leader, to allocate the Capital Investment Fund to individual schemes and to incur associated expenditure.


18.       To grant delegated authority to the Director: Finance & Human Resources, after consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance and Customer Service 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 as long as they are within the budget and policy framework.


19.       To grant delegated authority to the Executive Director: Adults Social Care, Health Integration & wellbeing after consultation with the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Integration and Transformation, to enter into appropriate Section 256 and Section 75 Agreements under the NHS Act 2006 (as amended).


20.       To authorise the Associate 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.


21.       To approve this suite of MTFS reports as the Council’s Efficiency Strategy for 2022/23, including the document at Appendix 16, to enable new capital receipts generated in the three year period starting 1 April 2022 to be used to fund the revenue costs of reform as assumed throughout these reports.


22.       To note the initial projections for the potential budget gap through to 2025/26 and to start work in order to identify options for how this could potentially be bridged.


23.       To approve that once all final outstanding grant allocations are received, authority to amend the use of balances in 2022/23 to accommodate any difference in funding between that currently assumed and the final grant allocations be delegated to the Director: Finance & H.R. after consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance & Customer Services.


24.       To approve the Pay Policy for 2022/23 included as Appendix 15


25.       To approve the proposals for a revised formulae for the distribution to member authorities of any accumulated surplus of the WME Joint Committee set out in Appendix 17.


26.       Delegation of authority to the Director: Finance & HR after consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance & Customer Service, to make changes to the Service & Financial Planning Strategy with immediate effect to reflect all grants received from Government, including that in respect of the “£150 council tax energy rebate for properties in council tax bands A to D”, and any associated spend.


27.       To approve the additional recommendations contained in the other reports included in this suite of Medium Term Financial Strategy reports included on this agenda.

Supporting documents: