Issue - meetings

Draft 24/25 Budget Update

Meeting: 25/01/2024 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 28)

28 Draft 24/25 Budget Update pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Director of Finance.

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Wilson, Executive Member (Resources) attended the meeting to present the report on the Draft Budget 2024/25 which had been considered and agreed at Executive Cabinet on 18 January 2024. Louise Mattinson, Director of Finance was also in attendance.

 

The report set out the draft budget position for the council for 2024/25 and the   forecast for 2025/26, reflecting the information contained within the Provisional  Local Government Financial Settlement announced on 18th December 2023.

 

Councillor Wilson explained that the budget consultation process, which had now started, included the following proposals:

·            A proposed 2.99% increase in council tax in 2024/25 with no proposed cuts to services;

·            A forecast balanced budget for 2024/25, based on a 2.99% increase in council tax as noted above and the use of £0.365m of reserves;

·            A forecast budget shortfall for 2025/26 of £1.575m, to be addressed through the development and delivery of the council’s savings programme

·            Proposals for the labour administration to invest in the priority areas identified in the report.

 

Councillor Wilson highlighted the investments referenced on page 58 which generate net income for the Council, such as the Market Walk Shopping Centre, Primrose Gardens, Strawberry Meadows and Tatton Gardens.

 

It was noted in the report that the figures in the report may be subject to change, pending receipt of the Final Local Government Financial Settlement announcement which is due from Government in early February 2024.

 

Councillor Wilson highlighted paragraph 27 of the report which stressed the fact that the Council has only received a one year settlement.  In the absence of any figures or framework from Government, it is almost impossible to prepare a credible financial strategy beyond 31 March 2025 with any degree of confidence in the underlying assumptions. It was therefore difficult to develop the Medium Term Strategy in this context.

 

He also referred to financial risks and uncertainties which would have an impact    on the Council’s budget such as staffing costs following an agreed pay award.

 

Councillor Wilson addressed a query about Council Tax debt. He stressed that  the Council have a very broad package which aims to investigate the reasons for non-payment of council tax, for example mental health issues. Individuals may be referred to services such as social prescribing to help address those issues.

 

Councillor Wilson responded to two issues raised by the Chair, in relation to   energy costs and impact on projects for the area. Councillor Wilson indicated that hopefully energy costs would reduce, however they were unlikely to return to rates of 12 months ago. In relation to projects, e.g. arising from the Levelling Up Funding, these are still on track and would not be adversely impacted.

 

Finally, Councillor Wilson indicated that due to the financial challenges being faced by the Council, the Executive Cabinet would be looking closely at all areas of the Council in the next twelve months and suggested that scrutiny would have a key role in that process.

 

Resolved – That the report be noted.

 

 

 


Meeting: 18/01/2024 - Executive Cabinet (Item 51)

51 Draft 24/25 Budget Update pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Director of Finance.

Decision:

1.    That Members agree the contents of this report in order to start the budget consultation process as follows:

·         A proposed 2.99% increase in council tax in 2024/25 with no proposed cuts to services;

·         A forecast balanced budget for 2024/25, based on a 2.99% increase in council tax as noted above and the use of £0.365m of reserves

·         A forecast budget shortfall for 2025/26 of £1.575m, to be addressed through the development and delivery of the council’s savings programme;

·         To note the proposals in the report for investment in the Labour Administration’s priority areas

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Wilson, Executive Member for Resources presented the report of the Director of Finance which set out the draft budget position for the council for 2024/25, and the forecast for 2025/26, which reflected the information contained within the provisional Local Government Financial Settlement.

 

In summary, it was explained that the council was in a good position, and unlike other councils, there was not the looming prospect of bankruptcy or the need for a Section 114 notice. The council were able to deliver services outlined, address the needs of the residents and achieve its corporate priorities. It was acknowledged that there as a budget gap of £1.5m for the year 25/26, however efficient saving, increased revenue and cooperative working provided optimism.

 

Decision

1.         That Members agree the contents of this report in order to start the budget consultation process as follows:

·                A proposed 2.99% increase in council tax in 2024/25 with no proposed cuts to services;

·                A forecast balanced budget for 2024/25, based on a 2.99% increase in council tax as noted above and the use of £0.365m of reserves

·                A forecast budget shortfall for 2025/26 of £1.575m, to be addressed through the development and delivery of the council’s savings programme;

·                To note the proposals in the report for investment in the Labour Administration’s priority areas

 

Reasons for recommendation

1.         The council wishes to set out its budget proposals and consult on them with residents.

 

Other options considered and rejected

1.         None – this is the draft budget and alternative budgets may be considered as part of the final budget proposals.