Agenda item

2023/24 Budget & Medium Term Financial Plan 2023/24 to 2026/27


The Committee considered the proposed Budget for 2023/24, updated Medium Term Financial Plan 2023/24 to 2026/27, Capital Strategy 2023/24, proposed Fees and Charges for 2023/24 and Procurement Forward Plan 2023/24. 


The Executive Councillor presented a detailed summary of the information contained within the reports and the Executive Director (Finance and Customer Services) also presented a short summary of the paper which set out the key changes pre and post settlement, the reserves position, the HRA and reserves position and key decisions around car parking charges, council tax, rents and related income and the 4 year efficiency programme.  Regarding reserves, it was noted that it was proposed to retain the match funding allocated for the LUF bid, in anticipation of making a bid during the 3rd round.


Regarding car parking charges, the view was expressed that there are some areas within the borough that charges could be increased and that this should be considered for future years.


Regarding the level of reserves within the HRA, members were advised that, due to the capital works and property refreshment programme and to meet the Decent Homes Standard, these are areas that are being particularly affected by inflation so there is a need to have funds for contingencies.  The minimum reserve level could be reviewed to provide more of a buffer.


Regarding rents and other non-rent charges, benchmarking had been undertaken with other authorities and similar authorities had put up charges by between 5% and 7%, with London putting them up significantly more after holding a referendum.  The Leader commented that ideally, rents would not have been put up at all, but following detailed advice, a 5% increase was proposed to balance the long-term impact on the HRA.  Consideration would also be given throughout the year to the voluntary payments to reduce debt.  Reference was also made to the effect of inflation and supply chain issues on the HRA.


(Councillor Thrane left the meeting)


The Executive Councillor explained the proposals around empty homes and the empty property premiums, which were supported by members.


(Councillor Thrane returned to the meeting)




That the following recommendations to the Executive be noted:


·        That the General Fund Budget for 2023/24 as detailed in Appendix A (section 9) be approved.


·        That the revised Medium-Term Financial Plan (2023/24 to 2026/27) as detailed in Appendix A, including the revised Capital Programme (attached at Annex A) be approved.


·        That the Capital Strategy 2023/24 as set out in Appendix B be approved.


·        That the proposed Fees and Charges for 2023/24 as detailed in Appendix C be approved.


·        That the proposed Procurement Forward Plan for 2023/24, providing the Authority to procure based on procurement activity detailed in Appendix D be approved.


·        That a Band D Council Tax of £211.36 for 2023/24 (an increase of £5.96 or 2.90% from 2022/23) be approved.


·        That the adoption of the Council Tax premium on second homes outlined s7.1.7 and the empty property premium for properties that have remained empty for 1 year s7.1.10. be approved.


·        HRA charges as follows:

o   All dwellings rents to increase by 5%, increasing the average rent from £73.96 to £77.78 per week (average rent takes into account new tenancies let over the previous year where the higher formula rent was charged. This gives an arithmetical increase of 5.16%)

o   Garage rents to be increased by 5% from £7.86 to £8.26 average per week

o   Other Charges including service charges to increase by a maximum of 5%

o   Fuel charges at individual blocks have been reviewed and the 2023/24 charge is based on the 2022/23 estimated costs and 2021/22 actual fuel usage/prices, charged on an individual scheme basis.


·        That the Chief Finance Officer's view that the level of reserves are adequate for the Council, based on this budget and the circumstances in place at the time of preparing it (Appendix A Annex C) be noted.





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