Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding
Contact: Democratic Services 01775 764838
Declarations of Interest.
(Where a Councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest the Councillor must declare the interest to the meeting and leave the room without participating in any discussion or making a statement on the item, except where a Councillor is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of dispensation.)
There were none.
To consider the Draft General Fund and Housing Revenue Account 2022/23 revenue and capital estimates and the Draft Financial Medium Term Strategy (for consultation) (report of the Deputy Chief Executive – Corporate Development enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Deputy Chief Executive – Corporate Development (S151 Officer) which requested that the Cabinet consider, and release for consultation the 2022/23 Draft Budget, Medium Term Plan and Strategy.
It was advised that an informal briefing had taken place earlier in the week to give members who could not attend the Cabinet meeting the opportunity to consider the information and ask questions. The following points from the informal briefing and the formal meeting of Cabinet were raised:
· Members asked why there was no allowance for inflation within the Key Budget Principles.
o Officers explained that for those areas where an exceptional increase was anticipated, inflationary increases had been factored in, for example the cost of utilities is increasing significantly and a 30% increase had therefore been included. Allowances for inflationary change were provided for on a cost by cost basis and were bespoke to the area involved – there was no inflation rise built into the basic budgets, but it had been for relevant contracts.
· Members asked why the authority had previously left the Lincolnshire Business Rates Pool and now re-joined it.
o Officers advised that the authority had originally withdrawn due to a risk at the time relating to a power station appeal which could have impacted on the pool. The authority had withdrawn so as not to bring this risk to the Pool however, this risk was no longer in place and the authority had re-joined the Lincolnshire Business Rates Pool for 2022/23.
· Members asked if the anticipated increase in utilities was also being passed on to the other services renting office space at the Council Offices at Priory Road?
o Officers would provide a response following discussion with the appropriate service manager.
· Members questioned whether any issues of concern were included within the Risk Register. The issue of utilities was provided as an example, as it was impossible to know the true figure of increases in the future.
o Officers responded that this was listed within the risk register, included as part of the Cabinet report, under ‘Inflation rises by more than budgeted projections’. It had been given a medium risk as a reasonable allowance for a 30% increase had been included, and this was felt to be realistic.
· Members commented that this would be the last year that the authority would be in receipt of the Revenue Support Grant and New Homes Bonus – how would this affect the budget going forward?
o Officers advised that the New Homes Bonus was not built into the base budget and went straight into reserves. The Revenue Support Grant and the lower tier services grants were built into the budget. There would be concerns nationwide regarding the loss of income streams, and it would be important to continue to drive savings.
o The Leader clarified that these income streams would not disappear completely – they had been introduced as a temporary solution to the loss of the Fair Funding Review. He reiterated however ... view the full minutes text for item 37.