Issue - meetings

2022/23 Budget setting

Meeting: 31/01/2022 - Cabinet (Item 82)

82 2022/23 Budget setting pdf icon PDF 330 KB

To recommend to Council the proposed 2022/23 budget and associated medium term financial strategy and treasury management strategy for recommendation to Council 11 February.

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The cabinet member finance, corporate services and planning introduced the report and explained the scale of the revenue budget and the services this provided. The financial position of local government nationally remained a concern with the longer term outlook uncertain. The council was fortunate not to have to rely on reserves to balance the budget and it was important to avoid that situation. The proposed budget had been subject to extensive consultations across a number of different formats and forums. All the responses had been closely considered by officers and cabinet members.


The proposals had been scrutinised by each of the council’s scrutiny committees. The response to the recommendations produced had been published as a supplementary document to the cabinet report.


In response to the recommendation that consideration be given to the use of 50% of the capital surplus for highways in 2023/24 and 2024/25 the cabinet noted that the council’s headroom for borrowing in future years needed careful consideration. A planned audit of the previous injection into the highway network would assess how effective that approach had been. The further involvement of scrutiny in shaping these ideas would be welcome.


In response to the recommendation that the council should aim to become more targeted and to give funding support to those most in need it was highlighted that additional revenue funding had been identified due to an increased estimate of business rate income. It was proposed to use £500k of this additional funding to triple the fund for the discretionary Housing Payment scheme budget, to support those most in housing related need. The remaining funds would be added to general reserves for unforeseen cost pressures during the coming year. It was proposed that the recommendations to Council be adjusted for this.


The scrutiny committee had recommended that consideration be given to the use of the existing earmarked reserves for Adult Services to offset the requirement for the 1% adult social care precept for 2022/23. A detailed response had been provided explaining the need for the earmarked reserves and concerns that using reserves in this way would mean the council entering future budgeting rounds with known unfunded pressures. 


The cabinet member concluded her presentation by thanking officers for their work in compiling the budget proposals.


Cabinet members highlighted some of the cost pressures, developments and opportunities in their portfolio areas. It was noted that:

·       It was a strategic choice to seek to close funding gaps in the economy and environment directorate by increasing income through charges rather than cut funding to services;

·       No savings were being required for the children and young people directorate during this period of transformation, it was necessary to invest in this service area but this did have a knock on effect elsewhere;

·       The council continued to make use of covid recovery funds as they became available;

·       The proposed budget sought to spend the money available as wisely as possible but it was difficult to continually have to keep squeezing to keep to a balanced budget;  ...  view the full minutes text for item 82