Agenda and minutes

Venue: Conference Room 1 - Herefordshire Council, Plough Lane Offices, Hereford, HR4 0LE. View directions

Contact: Samantha Walmsley, Democratic Services Officer 

Link: Watch this meeting live on the Herefordshire Council Youtube Channel

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillor Harvey, James, Fagan and Stark





To receive declarations of interests in respect of Table A, Table B or Other Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.


None declared.  Subsequently confirmed that Councillor Hurcomb had none (he was absent from the room during this item). 




Minutes from the Cabinet meeting on 23 November 2023 are to follow.


That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 November will be considered at the next Cabinet meeting on 21 December 2023.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 190 KB

To receive questions from members of the public.


Additional documents:


Questions received and responses given are attached as appendix 1 to the minutes.


Questions from councillors pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To receive questions from councillors.


Additional documents:


Questions received and responses given are attached as appendix 2 to the minutes.


Reports from Scrutiny Committees

To receive reports from the Council’s scrutiny committees on any recommendations to the Cabinet arising from recent scrutiny committee meetings.


There were no reports from scrutiny committees for consideration at this meeting.


2024/25 Draft Budget - Revenue pdf icon PDF 290 KB

To approve the 2024/25 draft budget for consultation.  This report provides an estimated funding position, based on information known to date, and sets out the key pressures and the savings proposals for each Directorate.


Additional documents:


The Cabinet member for finance and corporate services introduced the report and highlighted that Cabinet inherited a funding gap between estimated income and planned expenditure of £28.8m which has been reduced to zero and a balanced budget has been achieved.   


The revenue budget is a draft and will be subject to consultation with council members, council’s scrutiny committees, businesses and the public.


This draft revenue budget totals £205.2m for 2024/25 which includes a 4.99% increase in Council Tax and the current estimate of central funding, due to be announced in December 2023.


The base budget for 2024/25 is proposed to fund identified budget pressures of £43.3m which have been offset through savings and efficiencies of £19.5m together with mitigations of £7.9m to enable us to deliver a balanced budget of £205.2m. 


The forecasts for inflation and Consumer Price Index were noted. 


The increase in the national living wage for individuals over 21 from 1 Apr 2024 has been considered as part of this draft budget.


It is the council’s plan to implement the maximum 4.99% increase in council tax for 2024. If additional funding is identified in the provisional settlement then cabinet will review what to do with the surplus.


The draft revenue budget is proposed for each directorate at paragraph 16.  The breakdown is detailed at Appendix B with a total budget of £205.170m with details of how it is funded. 


Paragraph 17 shows a summary of the unfunded pressures of £43.3m by directorate. It is proposed that the £4m all ages social care budget approved in the 2023/24 budget is applied to the Community wellbeing directorate in 2024/25 to fund demand and cost pressure in adult social care.


Noted that each Directorate has key budget pressure and highlighted pressures within the Community Wellbeing directorate and Children’s and Young People.   Paragraph 21 outlines how the savings are planned over the three years period and will enable a reduction of the base budget by 31 March 2027.


Highlighted there will be a small increase in parking charges in the Economy and Environment directorate (following the deferred savings targets).  


Noted that Corporate Services will deliver their savings through a review of services, business support functions across the council and a review of the management structure.


Totals savings of £19.5m are proposed comprising of £11.6m of directorate savings and a further £7.9m of council wide savings, details are within Appendix A.


Noted that outstanding information expected to have an impact on the proposed budget for 2024/25 and the Medium Term Financial Strategy will include, the provisional and final local government finance settlement for 2024/25, the outcome of the public consultation and recommendations from the scrutiny management board. 


Confirmed that cabinet will propose the 2024/25 revenue budget for recommendation to council at its meeting on 25 January 2024.  Council will meet to approve the 2024/25 revenue budget and supporting appendices at its meeting on 9 February 2024.


No points were raised by cabinet members. 


Group leaders gave the views of their groups.  Queries  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.


2024/25 Draft Capital Investment Budget and Capital Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 493 KB

To recommend to Council for approval the revised capital investment budget and capital strategy for 2024/25 onwards.


Additional documents:


The Cabinet member for finance and corporate services introduced the report, the principal points were raised.


That full Council on 8 December 2023 passed the amendment to the 2023/24 Capital Programme shown at Appendix C. A correction was noted that the updated capital programme title included at appendix C (which is the proposed capital programme from April 2024) should read, Capital Programme position April 2024/25.


Appendix A, along with the outline strategic business cases at Appendix E provide details of the proposed additions to the existing capital programme. Seven capital investment budget proposals totalling £7.33m have been identified and will be funded by prudential borrowing.  Noted that inclusion in the capital programme is not approval to proceed.


Appendix D the Capital strategy, provides a clear and concise view of how the council determines it priorities for capital investment and this will be updated in line with the county plan. 


The council is undertaking a Corporate Asset Review which seeks to identify surplus areas of land and assets.  Seven sites were noted to have the potential to bring forward residential or commercial development.


The Medium Term Financial Strategy and Treasury management Strategy supports the new borrowing which includes an estimation of £6.7m of new prudential borrowing per annum as detailed at paragraph 24.  Outline strategic business cases for each of the new projects are detailed at Appendix E. 


Monthly budget control meetings will provide assurance on robustness for all Capital projects. 


No comments were made by cabinet members. 


Group leaders gave the views of their groups.  There was support for the additions to the programme and the recommendations.  It was noted that a general system should be purchased for the planning department rather than a bespoke system and if council land is sold, benefit for the community should be considered.  An additional appendix to show the difference between the existing and proposed budget was requested to enable residents to clearly see the differences. 


Clarification was sought regarding when central government will be approached in respect of funding for the Southern Link Road and queried the figures published in these papers and those at full council. Queried the £5.4m funding for projects within Economy.  Concerns were expressed that funding is being used for undeliverable schemes and it is not made clear that there will borrowing in the future to deliver projects now (referred to paragraph 24).


In response to queries it was noted that investment in the database is needed for planning. Confirmed that housing land is important and acknowledged the demand for housing, progressing these sites was important to achieve the best outcomes for residents.  Regarding the Southern Link Road finances and development, it has been made clear to central government that schemes will be coming forward and confirmed officers are putting forward a comparison of the routes and schemes which will come in January and February 2024. In respect of the change in figures for the Southern Link Road clarification will be provided. Lastly, the comment regarding how the capital  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.