Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy and Budget 2023/24


As detailed in the recommendations.


Councillor Johnson introduced the item and explained that the Council reviewed and updated the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTF) annually, and in advance of planning the annual budget for the following financial year.


The MTFS forecasted the resources the Council would need to meet the ever changing cost base for the years ahead.  The updated forecast showed that the Council was likely to have a minimum budget requirement of an additional £16.503m of revenue resources for 2023/24.


During the Autumn, the Overview and Scrutiny Committees would be invited to review the cost pressures, and the opportunities for cost control and efficiency, under their respective terms of reference.  Member workshops would be held to explain the forecast position and the budget strategy in more detail and were in the process of being arranged for September.


The report also set out the strategy to achieve a legal, balanced budget, which was based on national funding from Welsh Government (WG) through Aggregate External Finance (AEF), identification of service and corporate efficiencies and annual uplifts in Council Tax.


As part of the 2022/23 Local Government Settlement, the Council was given indicative figures for 2023/24 and for 2024/25.  Whilst that was welcome, the next two years of local government settlements would be at a considerably lower level than the previous two years which presented significant challenges and increased the amount that needed to be met from other sources.


Members were aware that whilst some cost savings and efficiencies could be identified as part of the annual budget process, there were no cost savings of any scale remaining following a decade of under-funding of local government and the Council had stood by the principle that the Council would not reduce the budget for any service to the point where the service was unsafe, or to do so would mean failing to meet statutory duties or failing to meet quality standards.


Therefore the need to consider areas of service reform to generate, where possible, a higher level of costs savings, would be an area where the Council would need to undertake a great deal of work over the summer to find solutions that would enable the Council to set a legal and balanced budget.


The budget timeline was outlined in the report.


The Strategic Finance Manager confirmed the arrangements for the Member Workshops which would enable all Members to go through the figures in more detail.  In addition, on National Pay Awards, if the figure was above 3.5% that would place a further pressure on the budget for 2023/24.  The Chief Executive explained that it was a challenging budget process and emphasised the importance of the Member Workshops.  Following requests, he confirmed that an all Member briefing would be held on 22nd July, hosted by John Rae from the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), on how the funding formula worked. 


On pay awards for teachers, Councillor Roberts said each additional half a percentage would equate to approximately a further £200,000.  The same would apply to the whole workforce. 





(a)       That the additional budget requirement be received and noted;


(b)       That the process and timeline for Member workshops be agreed;


(c)        That the cost pressures be referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees in the Autumn; and


(d)       That the solutions available to meet the cost pressures and re-set the funding strategy for 2023/24 be noted.


Councillor Roberts advised there would be a change in the order of agenda items and agenda item number 23: Food Service Plan 2022-23 for Flintshire County Council would be considered next.

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