Issue - meetings

Medium Term Financial Strategy / Budget 2022/23 - Stage 2 - Overview & Scrutiny Responses

Meeting: 14/10/2021 - Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 44)

44 Medium Term Financial Strategy / Budget 2022/23 - Stage 2 - Overview & Scrutiny Responses pdf icon PDF 98 KB

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(a)       That the Committee commends the Overview & Scrutiny responses to budget consultation to the Cabinet; and


(b)       That the Chief Executive be thanked for developing and leading the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy process.


The Chief Executive presented a report to consider the outcome of consultation with Overview & Scrutiny Committees on the 2022/2023 budget proposals, to enable the Committee to respond accordingly to Cabinet.  He thanked all the Committee Members, Chairs and Cabinet Members for their contributions and support during this process.


The report contained feedback from three of the Committees and a verbal update was given on the remaining two which had met subsequently.  All had supported the cost pressures within their respective portfolios and had identified no further cost efficiency opportunities.  The two issues arising were the Education, Youth & Culture Overview & Scrutiny Committee seeking further details on the allocation of the proposed £1m investment in schools and the Social & Health Care Overview & Scrutiny Committee requesting careful monitoring of open risks.


The Head of Democratic Services confirmed that the consultation had fulfilled constitutional requirements and that the report to Cabinet had been updated to reflect the completion of this stage of the budget.


The Corporate Finance Manager provided an update on four recent key changes impacting on the Council’s budget estimate:


·         Pay award estimates to reflect the current position on national negotiations - 1.75% for the current year on a recurring basis for next year plus 1% from 2022/23

·         National Insurance increase - just over £1.4m

·         Increase in Members’ allowance (as recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales) - £0.184m

·         Various deferred pressures as non-essential or funded through alternative grants - total increased to just over £18m


On budget solutions, the projected achievable efficiency target of £2m had been revised to £1.25m.  An uplift of 5.75% in Revenue Support Grant would be required to support all cost pressures identified, which was in line with the financial case made by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).


The Chief Executive said that current national negotiations on the non-teachers’ pay award indicated the estimate was likely to be higher and that Ministerial discussions through the WLGA continued.


In response to questions from Councillor Richard Jones, the Chief Executive clarified that the National Insurance estimate included provision for Aura Wales, Newydd Catering & Cleaning and Theatr Clwyd.  The national evidential case by the WLGA was considered a realistic estimate to inform national decision-making.  An insufficient Settlement would require review of non-essential cost pressures and associated risks, given that the budget estimate had been supported with no scope for further efficiencies.


Councillor Ian Roberts said that Welsh Government decisions would be influenced by the forthcoming budget statement by the Chancellor.


Councillor Paul Johnson thanked all Overview & Scrutiny Members for their contributions and challenge to the budget process.


Councillor Richard Jones paid tribute to the Chief Executive’s role in developing the Medium Term Financial Strategy which had proved to be a useful tool in financial planning.  The Chief Executive said that this was a team effort involving Members, the Chief Officer Team and Finance officers.


The recommendation, which was amended to reflect the debate, was moved and seconded by Councillors Paul Shotton and Richard Jones.




(a)       That  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44