Agenda item

Annual Budget Report 2023/24, Medium Term Financial Strategy, Capital Programme and Capital Strategy, Treasury Management Policy/Strategy and Annual Delivery Plan

To approve: the General Fund and HRA budgets for 2023/24 including the use of reserves, Medium Term Financial Strategy, Capital Programme and Strategy, Treasury Management Policy/Strategy, MRP Policy and Annual Investment Strategy, Fees & Charges, Pay Policy Statement and the Annual Delivery Plan.


(Please note that in accordance with The Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a recorded vote will be taken on Budget recommendations).


(Members are reminded that if they are two months or more in arrears, they must disclose the fact and not vote on any item to set tax or any decision which may affect its calculation).


Consideration was given to the report of the Deputy Chief Executive – Corporate Development (S151) which requested approval of the General Fund and HRA budgets for 2023/24 including the use of reserves, Medium Term Financial Strategy, Capital Programme and Strategy, Treasury Management Policy/Strategy, MRP Policy and Annual Investment Strategy, Fees and Charges, Pay Policy Statement and the Annual Delivery Plan.


The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercialisation and Partnerships introduced the report and outlined the main details of the Budget. 


·       The Covid pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine had had a huge global impact and consequently had impacted on the Council’s finances.  Very high inflation, high interest rates, workforce shortages and industrial action was impacting individuals and businesses.  The Council was not exempt from these pressures.

·       A huge amount of additional work had been required in order to produce a balanced budget, and the Portfolio Holder requested that his thanks be passed on to all involved.

·       Over the years, the Council had managed its finances well, building up small reserves year on year while still maintaining good levels of service to its residents.  These reserves would now need to be called upon.  Going forward, strict budgets and careful budget scrutiny would be required, while still maintained good levels of service.

·       There would be continued weekly collections of waste and recycling, and  continued investment in affordable and market rental homes, commercial lets for small businesses, community heritage and general assets, and the successful garden waste service.  In addition, there was improved CCTV in Spalding town centre, and land for a community woodland had been secured.  The Council would continue with its partnership with Boston Council and ELDC, and also PSPS, continuing to drive out efficiencies, keeping costs down, and providing a strong voice in Government for the sub-region.


The summary headlines of the Budget were as follows:

·       The General Fund budget of £16million would be balanced, with the use of reserves and an efficiency savings programme of £885,000;

·       Drainage Board levy increases of around £540,000 over the last 2 years would be eased by a District Council Tax increase of 3%, creating an additional £257,000 towards the drainage boards costs of £3.1million for the year;

·       Government funding would remain static at around £2million;

·       Interest earned on cash investments would increase to around £1.8million, due to rises in interest rates;

·       Business Rate income was set to increase by around £1million;

·       General running costs of Council services in 2023/24 would increase by around £3.5million through increased staff pension costs, general overheads, contracts, supplies and services;

·       Increased homeless costs had been included for 2023/24;



·       The HRA was set to show a surplus of £2.2m to be invested in new affordable Council homes;

·       Around 3,750 Council home rents were due to increase by 7% as Government capping allowed.  However, SHDC would be introducing a 2% cost of living credit on this rent increase to assist tenants;

·       Investment in Council homes continued with maintenance and improvement works of over £6.5million to keep them at the Decent Homes Standard.


Members were advised of three amendments to be made to the reports:


·       The Garden Waste Collection Service was a non-statutory service which residents elected to receive, and should not be subsidised by all Council Tax payers.  It had been anticipated that the charge for this service would have to increase due to increases in fuel and staff costs however, fuel costs had fallen and take up of the service had increased resulting in the ability to leave the charge for 2023/24 at £52.  The Table of Fees and Charges at Appendix 4 (Page 266 of the agenda pack) showed an increase for the service to £56 and it was proposed that this charge remain at £52 for 2023/24.


·       In relation to Agenda Item 12 (Council Tax Setting 2023/24), at Appendix B, the header to the sixth column should read ‘Precept 2022/23’ and not ‘Band D 2022/23).


·       Members were asked to disregard the Market Fees as set out within the Table of Fees and Charges (Appendix 4, pages 265-266 of the agenda pack) which were incorrectly detailed.  The correct Market Fees for members consideration were:

  • Spalding Market (Tuesday and Saturday) - £7
  • Holbeach Market (Thursday and Saturday) - £7
  • Crowland Market (Friday) - £7
  • Long Sutton (Friday) - £8.50 

These charges reflected no change from the previous year.


The following points were raised:


·       Members thanked officers for their explanation of the budget and acknowledged the work it had taken to get the budget to this point. 


·       The Strategic Programme referred to Parish Councils - Council liaison with Parish Councils had improved, with efforts being made to involve them in the spending of recently acquired Government funding.  It was hoped that an improved relationship with Parish Councils would continue in the future.


·       Members questioned where within the budget papers details of income from assets sold generally, and specifically the benefit for the disposal of the depot in Holbeach, could be found?

  • Members were advised that any receipts yet to be received would not feature in the budget until they were received.  Capital receipts were used to finance the Capital Programme – the balance brought forward was not shown as this was not a requirement of the Budget report.


·       There were many pressures on the Council’s budget, specifically the issue of Homelessness.  It was hoped that this budget would not be exceeded.   Much hard work was needed to ensure that the Council continued in its compassionate approach, whilst maintaining costs within the budget.




a)    That the amendments to the report, as detailed in the minute above be agreed; and


b)    That Council approve the following recommendations proposed by Cabinet on 14th February:

1.     That the Revenue Estimates for the General Fund, HRA and Spalding Special for 2023/24 (Appendices 1, 1a, 1b and 1c) be approved.

2.     That the Council Tax for a Band A property in 2023/24 be set at £130.26 (£3.84 per annum increase on 2022/23 levels) and Band D £195.39 for 2023/24 (a £5.76 per annum increase on 2022/23 levels).

3.     That the Spalding special expenses for a Band A property be set at £16.98 for 2023/24, (previously £16.38 in 2022/23) and Band D £25.47 for 2023/24, (previously £24.57 in 2022/23).

4.     The additions to and use of reserves (as detailed at Appendix 1) be approved.

5.     The Medium-Term Financial Strategy (at Appendix 1) be approved.

6.     The Capital Programme and Capital Strategy (Appendices A and 2) be approved.

7.     The Treasury Management Policy 2023/24 (Appendix 3a) and Treasury Management Strategy, including the Minimum Revenue Provision Policy and Annual Investment Strategy 2023/24 (Appendix 3b) be approved.

8.     The Annual Delivery Plan for 2023/24 (Appendix 5) be approved.

9.     That Full Council delegates approval to the Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Development (S151), to account as required for any s31 grant and reserve transactions required in respect of the Collection Fund.


That Council Approves:

10.  From 1st April, 2023, the Council implements a pay supplement to raise pay to £10.90 per hour for all Council employees on the National Joint Council (NJC) pay rate currently paid below this sum.

11.  The Pay Policy Statement for 2023/24 (Appendix 6)

12.  The Fees & Charges Schedule for 2023/24 (Appendix 4)


In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 a recorded vote was taken on the recommendations (Annual Budget Report 2023/24, Medium Term Financial Strategy, Capital Programme and Capital Strategy, Treasury Management Policy/Strategy and Annual Delivery Plan). The vote was as follows:






Councillor Alcock



Councillor Avery

Councillor Astill



Councillor Cronin

Councillor Beal



Councillor Drury

Councillor Biggadike



Councillor King

Councillor Bingham



Councillor Scalese

Councillor Booth




Councillor Brewis




Councillor Carter




Councillor Casson




Councillor Coupland




Councillor Gambba-Jones




Councillor Gibson




Councillor Grocock




Councillor Hasan




Councillor Lawton




Councillor McLean




Councillor Pepper




Councillor Porter




Councillor Redgate




Councillor Reynolds




Councillor Rudkin




Councillor Seymour




Councillor Slade




Councillor Sneath




Councillor Taylor




Councillor Tennant




Councillor Timewell




Councillor Tyrrell




Councillor Walsh




Councillor Wilkinson




Councillor Woolf




Councillor Worth





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