Issue - meetings

Draft Budget Setting, Medium Term Financial Plan and Capital Strategy 2022-23

Meeting: 24/02/2022 - Council (Item 38)

38 Budget Setting, Medium Term Financial Plan and Capital Strategy 2022-23 (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 250 KB

Report of Councillor Phillip Cowen, Executive Member for Finance Revenues and Benefits.


Additional documents:


Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance, Revenues & Benefits presented the report.


Budget setting in the present climate was always a challenging exercise and with the impact of the pandemic it had been even more demanding than usual. Nevertheless, he was delighted to be able to report that the Council had a balanced budget for the year ahead.


This Council was justifiably proud of its record of maintaining the full panoply of statutory services supplemented by a wide range of discretionary functions whilst maintaining the lowest rate of District Council tax not only in Norfolk but also England as defined by Her Majesty’s Government official statistics.


However, for the Council to provide its priorities, Thriving Places, Breckland 2035, Working Smarter and Inspiring Communities, this budget required a modest increase in Council Tax and using the national measure of a Band D property, this increase equated to £4.95 per year that would generate a figure for a Band D property of £103.68 per year or £1.99 per week.


The Budget, Medium Term Plan and Capital Strategy, had already been presented to the Cabinet meeting held on 10 January2022 where it had been determined that the strategy be reviewed as confirmed in the resolution under item 9/22 of the published January minutes.


The budget papers were then brought back to the next Cabinet meeting in February 2022 (Minute No. 20/22) and it had been resolved to recommend to Full Council the six recommendations as listed in the report.


The recommendations were read aloud.


The draft budget was the subject of much discussion and debate, not only in Cabinet (twice) and the Overview and Scrutiny Commission but also through the formal public consultation process and he and the Finance Team was indebted to all who had joined in this process of free, frank and healthy discussions.


Members’ attention was then drawn to a number of key points:


·        This was a balanced budget for the coming year.

·        In order to maintain services, deliver on the Council’s core strategies and initiatives and support residents and businesses the budget contemplated a proposed increase in Council Tax for a Band D property of £4.95 per year, less than a 10p increase per week.

·        Whilst the report reflected the final Local Government settlement, it was now relatively silent on future trends but there was no doubt that the Council would face challenges in the future due to the widely trailed central government policies such as the Environment Bill.

·        There was a significant risk associated with the National Non-Domestic Rate (NNDR) and its reset that would change the baseline funding level with the impact being felt in either years 23/24 or 24/25.

·        Whilst there was no suggestion of an imminent Fair Funding Review, this was anticipated in the 25/26 fiscal year

·        Government had provided a further £830k of New Homes Bonus (NHB) and this had been posted to the Inclusive Growth Reserve.

·        The continuing impact of Covid 19 throughout the past 12 months had led the Council to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38

Meeting: 07/02/2022 - Cabinet (Item 20)

20 Budget Setting, Medium Term Financial Plan and Capital Strategy 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 250 KB

Report of Councillor Philip Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits.

Additional documents:


Councillor Ian Sherwood presented the report on behalf of the Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits. 


Since the draft budget had been presented at the previous Cabinet meeting it had also been discussed at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting on the 27th January.   It was proposed to Members that the recommendations listed within the report be recommended to Full Council.


He was particularly highlighted that the report put forward a balanced budget for 2022-23 despite the challenging times and would continue to protect frontline services and invest in the corporate priorities and fund initiatives.  The budget proposed an increase of the annual council tax by £4.95 for a band D property.


The draft budget had been based on no reliance of the New Homes Bonus funding; whilst there would be a receipt of £830k of New Homes Bonus it would be allocated to the Inclusive Growth Reserve. 


In addition, the hardship fund had been increased by £35k to £100k.


Councillor Hewett said that it was a challenging time ahead for parishes, districts and county councils, and all needed to continue to pull together to work through the uncertainties.  He was pleased to see that there continued to be a balanced budget and that the Council would continue to meet the corporate objectives to ensure businesses and residents continued to thrive.


Councillor Jermy acknowledged that there had been significant demand on housing and homelessness and therefore an increase in cost.  He asked how robust the budget was to deal with the housing and homelessness issue.  He was concerned that the council had suspended the Household Support Fund but was pleased to hear that the additional funding had been applied for.  He asked for an update on the hardship fund as he was aware that the Household support fund was oversubscribed but yet the Hardship fund was undersubscribed.


Councillor Webb assured members that the team were making great strides in securing homes and recognised that there was a shortage of housing for those that required it.  She went on to say that it would be cost effective to house those that were homeless within the accommodation that was being provided at Elm Road but was aware that there were some people that were homeless that did not want to be accommodated..  Councillor Webb would update Members with the latest figures of the Hardship Fund.


Councillor Birt pointed out that the figures within the fees and charges for Hackney Carriage and Private Carriage were different to those that were currently being consulted on and asked why this was the case.  The Executive Member for Waste and Environment said that the Private Hire Vehicle charges had not been increased for 7-years, and that it had been calculated and based on a 5-year period not a 3-year period.  However, he would respond in detail to this question with Councillor Birt.


Councillor Birt had also noted that £50k had been allocated in the Capital budget to provide an access road for the wind-turbines  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20