Agenda item

Revenue Budget 2023/24, Medium Term Financial Strategy and Capital Programme 2023-2026

To seek approval to recommendations from the Executive contained in the attached report of the Chief Finance Officer (Introduced by the Executive Member for Resources) and within the appendices listed below.


a)    Approve the budget and proposals set out in this report, including the level of Council Tax as set out in the Formal Council Tax Resolution, including Special Expenses & Parish Precepts 2023/24, at Appendix A;

b)    Note the advice of the Chief Finance Officer in relation to the robustness of the estimates within the overall budget, including the risks contained within it and the adequacy of the proposed level of financial reserves, as set out in the Statutory Report at Appendices B1 – B3;

c)    Approve the council’s Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) at Appendix C;

d)    Note the council’s forecast Cumulative Budget Deficit and Budget Strategy 2023-24 to 2025-26 at Appendix D;

e)    Note the analysis of the movement in the 2023/24 Budget from the position approved by Council in February 2022 at Appendix E;

f)     Approve the capital programme for 2023/24 to 2025/26 (Appendices F1, F2 & F3);

g)    Approve the Capital Strategy at Appendix G;

h)    Approve the Treasury Management Strategy at Appendix H and note the advice of the treasury management consultants at Appendix H1;

i)     Approve the council’s Pay Policy at Appendix I for publication on the council’s website from April 2023 (including Appendix I (i) – the payscales for Chorley Council and Appendix I (ii) – the payscales for Shared Services);

j)     Note the budget consultation 2023/24 Report at Appendix J;

k)    Note the Assessing the Impact of Budget Proposals 2023/24 Report at Appendix K


The Deputy Executive Leader and Executive Member for Resources, Councillor Peter Wilson, presented the Executive’s Revenue Budget 2023/24, Medium Term Financial Strategy and Capital Programme 2023-26.


Councillor Wilson thanked officers and the Labour Group for their hard work and input into the proposed budget. He noted the previous post-covid budgets and the uncertainties this continued to create. The main challenges for the council included the rapid increase in inflation, the cost of living crisis and the impact of the Government’s budget on local councils. The proposed budget would continue to provide the support needed for residents, communities, and businesses in the borough.


The 2023/24 budget and the MTFS for the next 2 years had been updated to take account of the following:

·         Due to the continued pressures on council budgets, alongside reduced levels of funding from government to meet these increasing costs, the figures include a proposed 1.99% increase in council tax in 2023/24;

·         The figures also include a proposed 2.99% increase in council tax in 2024/25 and of 1.99% in 2025/26; these proposals will be revisited each year as part of the budget setting process and will be dependent upon the outcome of the government’s reviews of both the future funding framework and the future distribution of funding between councils (i.e. the log awaited Fair Funding Review), the review of the business rates system and the development of the ‘Levelling-Up’ agenda;

·         Continued investment is reflected in ongoing revenue budgets to ensure delivery of corporate strategy priorities.


Although the level of funding in cash terms has increased by £1.9m from £13.6m in 2016/17 to £15.5m in 2023/24 (13.9%), the real terms reduction over this period, as measured by CPI, is 26.9%. Despite this, the council has been, and remains, ambitious in its approach to addressing the budget deficit by generating efficiency savings and additional income.


Councillor Wilson referred to the achievements of the council in recent years, and the plans within the Corporate Strategy, which would be delivered by the proposed budget, including:


Housing where residents can live well

·         £2.8m of further investment in affordable homes and adaptation grants

·         £100k investment in measures to improve home energy efficiency

·         £50k to investigate flexible housing solutions to meet the needs of all communities


A green and sustainable borough

·         £35k to plant more trees as part of establishing green corridors

·         £200k environmental improvements and proactive activity to clean up neighbourhoods

·         £80k to deliver energy improvement measures for businesses

·         £50k to deliver additional Electric Vehicle charging points


An enterprising economy with vibrant local centres in urban and rural areas

·         £150k to continue improving Astley Hall

·         £400k to improve rural business connectivity

·         £240k to provide additional support for businesses

·         £10k to launch a skills and jobs programme for local residents

·         £441k over the MTFS for investment within bus shelters


Healthy, safe and engaged communities

·         £120k to provide more support for families and young people to access services that can give them the best start in life

·         £15k for health and wellbeing activities that can be access by residents within their local


The council continues to invest in the borough and this budget includes £23.053m of capital investment from 2023/24 to 2025/26. This includes investment in;

·         Provision of affordable housing, support for refugees and adaptations to assist residents in their homes;

·         Improving and transforming the leisure centres to encourage our residents to be active and healthy, along with investment in play, recreation and open spaces;

·         Driving economic development and delivering income generation through the completion of the Strawberry Meadows development;

·         Supporting our town centre through the town centre masterplan;

·         Delivering the green agenda, including decarbonisation of council properties; Rationalisation of council accommodation The council will continue its success of investing in assets that benefit residents and businesses whilst also generating a net income to the council.


The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley supported and seconded the proposed budget and noted the challenges faced by the council and how the proposed budget would address this.


Before moving to the vote, the Mayor asked Shadow Cabinet Member (Finance, Shared Services and Governance), Councillor Sam Chapman to present the Conservative Group amendment.

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