Members considered proposals for the budget and medium term financial strategy for 2022-2026. The discussion explored the context and approach to setting next year’s budget.
The financial projections considered came with a health warning because they are based on the best estimations by the Finance Department on the latest impact of the budget announcements; all of which were subject to change. Although early indications on funding for the forthcoming year were positive, the full impact of the announcements will not be known until the settlement is received in December and as a result the report highlighted the delicate financial situation for the Council.
Apart from Government funding, there were inflationary pressures of about £1.1 million each year, which cannot be covered by increases in Council Tax and fees and charges alone.
Table 1 in paragraph 3 to the cabinet report sets out the overall picture and it projects a budget gap of £0.691 million in 2022-23. These figures were rough projections. The council would need to start re-thinking how to best deliver services over the medium term. Section 9 of this report identified some options for further exploration to help contribute to savings over the medium term and the recommendations contained, sought Cabinet support to:
The following Members spoke under Council Procedure Rule 20.1:
Councillor Saunders proposed Councillor Kup seconded and Members agreed that:
1. The 2022-26 Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy be approved;
2. Cabinet provides direction on how the 2022-23 budget gap should be bridged;
3. Cabinet commits to the development of a long-term savings plan that exceeds £2m, in order to close the forecast medium term budget gaps.