Issue - meetings
Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and Budget 2022/23
(a) That Committee advises the Cabinet that it supports the budget requirement estimate, and its rationale, and requests a review of service balances; and
(b) That the Committee confirms that it will rigorously challenge the budget requirement estimates during September and October and will encourage the other four Overview & Scrutiny Committees to take a similar approach.
The Chief Executive and Corporate Finance Manager presented a report on the first stage of developing the Budget for 2022/23 alongside the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) following the recent Member briefing. A presentation covered the following:
· Financial Forecast for 2022/23 - 2024/25
· Cost Pressures
· Prior Year Decisions
· Loss of Income
· Legislative / Indexation
· National Resolution
· National Funding Requirements - Pay Awards - Non Schools/Schools
· Strategic Choices - Education/Social Care
· Other Choices
· Four Part Solutions
· Holding to our Position
· The ‘bottom line’
· Efficiencies and Income to date
· National and Funding
· Next Steps and Timelines
The updated forecast indicated a minimum budget requirement of an additional £16.750m of revenue resources for 2022/23; this included the financial impact of cumulative pay award outcomes for 2021/22 and 2022/23 for school and non-school employees. The four part solutions were on service efficiencies, local taxation, Government funding and risk balance. Taking into account all cost estimates, budget options and limiting factors, a minimum 4.5% increase in Revenue Support Grant was required to recognise the cost of pay awards and support through a long recovery phase. All Councils in Wales were engaging with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and Welsh Government (WG) on these requirements.
Following consideration by Cabinet, Overview & Scrutiny Committees would be invited to review their respective cost pressures and efficiency proposals during September and October prior to reporting the overall position to this Committee.
Councillor Paul Johnson spoke about the importance of Member involvement throughout the budget process and the need for careful consideration of the aspirations set out.
In thanking officers for the report, Councillor Paul Shotton said that the analysis reinforced the need for a fairer funding settlement from WG to enable the Council to set a legal and balanced budget.
Councillor Richard Jones reiterated the point that any national decisions with a financial impact should be supplemented by the relevant funding. He noted that service balances had increased significantly and asked whether some of those amounts carried forward could be used to cover cost pressures for the year if not being used for the same purpose.
On the first point, the Chief Executive spoke about the increasing number of national pressures arising from legislative decisions which often had no specific funding allocated.
The Corporate Finance Manager said that all carry forward requests were approved by Cabinet and that the majority were committed for the original intended purpose during the start of the new financial year.
Councillor Jones proposed that officers re-review service balances to establish if any could be allocated elsewhere. The Corporate Finance Manager advised that any one-off amount identified could not fund recurring issues. The Chief Executive said that whilst balances were reviewed, a further rigorous review would be undertaken as requested.
The recommendations, which were revised to reflect the debate, were moved and seconded by Councillors Haydn Bateman and Geoff Collett.
(a) That Committee advises the Cabinet that it supports the budget requirement estimate, and its rationale, and requests a review of service balances; ... view the full minutes text for item 17