Issue - meetings

Budget 2023/24

Meeting: 26/01/2023 - Cabinet (Item 890)

890 2023/24 Budget & 2023-27 Medium Term Financial Plan pdf icon PDF 88 KB

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Cabinet had another discussion on the Council budget proposals for 2023/24 and 2023-27 Medium Term Financial Plan that were considered by Cabinet. These were largely the same as the ones presented at the Cabinet meeting on 12 January 2023. The key points were cabinet’s recommendation of net spending by £3.5million or 19% of the budget. This was a significant increase at a time when the Council was facing the same cost increases as everyone else on fuel transport and pay. This decision was also being made in an economic environment where inflation was at a 40 year high. Cabinet was pleased to note that the proposals presented contributed to a balanced Council budget.


Cabinet also considered the recommendation from the Overview and Scrutiny Panel that came from their meeting held on 17 January 2023. The recommendation was asking Cabinet to “consider recommending to Council the inclusion in the 2023/24 General Fund Revenue Budget of a £35,000 allocation the appointment of a 3rd officer for the home energy services team who will provide a cold buster service, to be wholly funded from our existing Better Care Fund allocation.”


Cabinet was asked by the finance Portfolio Holder to agree option 3 in the Cabinet report which advised Members to defer making a definitive decision on the matter until a further report was brought back to a future Cabinet meeting. This was because this issue had not been raised dusting the budget making process which saw 19 Star Camber sessions being held where various priorities were presented for consideration.


Councillor Yates spoke under Council Procedure Rule 20.1.


Councillor David Saunders proposed, Councillor Jill Bayford seconded and Cabinet agreed the following:


To defer any decision about the Cold Buster Service, until an assessment of the broad options for the use of the Better Care Fund is considered within a separate report to a subsequent Cabinet meeting. This will result in the budget being presented in its current form for approval to Full Council at its meeting on 9 February 2023.

Meeting: 17/01/2023 - Overview & Scrutiny Panel (Item 427)

427 Budget 2023/24 & 2023-27 Medium Term Financial Plan pdf icon PDF 76 KB

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Chris Blundell introduced the report and made the following points:


·  This was a positive budget being proposed to Council, with more money coming into the budget;

·  This was a balanced budget;

·  There were proposals for investment in services.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


·  Members welcomed the budget proposals with £55million being set aside for the capital programme over 4 years;

·  They congratulated officers for work done to put together a balanced budget;

·  In the repairs budget; was there a priority list of which repair projects to carry out?

·  What will be the priorities for the five new coastal enforcement posts?

·  How did the Council’s CCTV system link up with Kent Police? Did Kent Police have access to the Council’s CCTV system?

·  How did the tidal pool issue impact tidal swimmers?

·  HRA was well costed but the Port and Harbour budget was not as detailed and well costed;

·  One Member requested for more detail regarding the proposal for a ferry;

·  Could Panel members be given a tour of the Port and Harbour?

·  It was important to carry out a risk analysis of the additional repairs and staffing costs required for the Port and Harbour to determine the best way forward;

·  It was good to note that Members would be given access to substantial information relating to the capital programme for the Ramsgate Harbour and Port. Why was the Council not utilising the unused land at the Ramsgate Harbour, even on a short term basis?


·  It was also good to note that the budget was proposing to invest on Council staff. Why were salary void targets in the budget?

·  The Margate Town Deal aspect of the proposals did not include the development of the Walpole Bay;

·  There had been an increased demand for home energy services. Currently the team has two officers. Could Cabinet propose the recruitment of a third officer to join this team?

·  This officer would conduct home visits to install home energy saving devices with a budget of £35k per year that could be funded from the Better Homes Care Fund.

·  The officer will visit low income households in private sector housing to install low cost energy efficiency measures such as installing power down devices and carbon monoxide detection alarms in homes;

·  This proposal was being made now as it was the right time considering the challenges households were experiencing due to increasing fuel costs;

·  Implementing the proposal would ensure significant impact for families;

·  One Member asked if the above proposal would impact on disability funding. It would be a better approach to first get an officer report after further investigation of this proposal before it can be carried forward;

·  Another Member responded that £28k would be for labour and the remainder would go towards the equipment costs. They further said that it was their understanding that such a proposal would not impact on any other services.


Chris Blundell, Bob Porter, Acting Corporate Director Place and the Leader of Council responded to Member comments and questions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 427

Meeting: 12/01/2023 - Cabinet (Item 884)

884 2023/24 Budget and 2023-27 Medium Term Financial Plan pdf icon PDF 891 KB

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Members debated the Cabinet budget proposals which reflected a balanced Council budget for 2023/24. The budget setting process began in the summer of 2022. Cabinet and officers had dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to get to the position as reflected in the proposals. The Cabinet Member for Finance thanked all who had been involved and contributed to this budget process.


It was stated during the meeting that despite what may seem like a lengthy and complicated process; this level of planning was of critical importance. It was how the Council would continue to deliver the services that matter to people, protect and support the most vulnerable residents. Cabinet recommended increasing the net spending on local services by £3.5m or 19.6% for the budget year. This was a really significant increase. The district council faced the same cost increases as everyone else on fuel, transport and pay, and this had to be funded. Inflation was at a 40 year high and the current economic climate made it difficult to predict the future. 


In addition to the increased cost of delivering services, the wider difficult economic climate meant that demand for some key services, most notably temporary accommodation for homeless people, was rising. Providing a safety net for people who had nowhere to live was one of the most important services the Council provided. However it was demand-driven and costs were rising.  Cabinet was proud to be presenting a number of proposals to invest in some of the council’s key services, which made a difference to local people. More spending was going to be dedicated on priorities such as improved CCTV, the recruitment of 5 coastal enforcement officers and more money for seaweed collection and coastal cleansing.


Despite the fact that inflation was running at around 10%, the Council’s core funding had only increased by 5.8% and the Council is only allowed to increase Council Tax by a maximum of 3%. Therefore Council would look to maximise local income, so that it could improve and provide quality services for local people. Cabinet was therefore proposing maximising key income streams, by charging for services which were only used by a limited proportion of residents. Cabinet was also planning to invest more in the council’s property portfolio, with the clear objective to increase income.


The Council had a relatively substantial capital programme to deliver over the next four years, through ongoing Levelling Up Fund projects for both Margate and Ramsgate and the Margate Town Deal.  These funds provided the opportunity for significant investment in two of the district’s towns and the impacts on the budget were set out in the draft capital programmes for 2023-2027.


Finally the proposed increase in Council Tax, at £7.42 per Band D equivalent property, represents an increase of less than 15p a week for each household.


The following Members spoke under Council Procedure 20.1:


Councillor Whitehead

Councillor Everitt

Councillor Yates;

Councillor Austin.


Councillor David Saunders proposed, Councillor Jill Bayford seconded and Cabinet agreed the following:


1.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 884