Issue - meetings
Budget 2022/23 and the Welsh Local Government Provisional Settlement
Meeting: 18/01/2022 - Cabinet (Item 94)
As detailed in the recommendation.
Councillor Johnson introduced the report and explained that on 14th December Cabinet received an update of an additional budget requirement of £20.696m for the 2022/23 financial year. That update was in advance of receipt of the Welsh Local Government Provisional Settlement which was received on 21st December.
The Cabinet report updated on the key headlines and financial impacts of the Settlement in advance of the final stage of the formal budget setting process in February.
The additional budget requirement would need to increase significantly to take account of the need to meet the impacts of all of the issues identified in the report, including Pay Awards / Real Living Wage and the continuation of additional costs and lost income arising from the pandemic following the cessation of the Welsh Government (WG) Hardship Fund at the end of March 2022.
A legal and balanced budget for 2022/23 would need to be recommended by Cabinet to Council once all of the work on the issues outlined in the report had been concluded.
The Aggregate External Finance (AEF) allocation provided an amount of £1,476 per capita compared to the Welsh average of £1,611, a ranking of 20th out of the 22 Welsh councils.
For the first time in a number of years the 2022/23 provisional settlement gave indicative allocations for the next two years. Whilst that was welcomed, the indicative uplifts in AEF of 3.5% and 2.4% for 2023/24 and 2024/25 respectively were significantly less than 2022/23 and would provide a significant challenge to meet the inevitable inflationary and demand impacts of Council Services. Therefore it would be essential that decisions made as part of the budget for 2022/23 were considered in the context of the medium term position to build in resilience to meet the challenges of the inevitable cost pressures that would arise in subsequent years.
Even though Flintshire was the 6th largest Welsh Council by population, it stood at 20th out of 22 based on a funding per capita basis. If Flintshire was to receive the same amount of per capita funding of the North Wales average, it would receive an additional £21m per annum.
It was the view of Cabinet Members that if things such as Pay Awards were announced nationally then it should be funded nationally.
The Corporate Finance Manager explained that the impacts of the pay awards were being worked through, as was the one off grant funding. A report would be submitted to Cabinet in February prior to County Council the same afternoon.
Councillor Roberts asked if a letter could be sent to North Wales Members of the Senedd to request that they lobby for the reinstatement of the Highways Maintenance Grant of £950k which had been confirmed it was now discontinued.
That the financial implications of the Welsh Local Government Provisional Settlement and the remaining work which needs to be completed prior to agreeing a set of recommendations for Council to set a legal and balanced budget in ... view the full minutes text for item 94