Agenda item

Budget 2014/15 and Medium Term Financial Plan to 2023/24*

Minutes:

Cabinet received a report as part of the Council’s agreed process for integrated finance and business planning.

 

The purpose of the report was to present budget proposals for 2014/15 through to 2023/24, in line with the provisional local government finance settlement for 2014/15 and in advance of some Department for Education specific grants being announced.

 

 The report contained three key sections:

 

i)  The Cabinet report and summary of council funding implications, including proposals on council tax;

ii) The draft MTFS, including capital strategy, asset management plan and Treasury   Strategy. This will allow consultation to take place on these elements; and

iii) The budget consultation document to enable scrutiny and discussed with staff, business leaders, the voluntary sector, partner organisations, trade unions, local MPs, parish councils, the Youth MP and Youth Council and other interested parties.

 

The report set out the proposals for consultation to enable Cabinet at its meeting on 24 February to make recommendations to be made to the meeting of Full Council on 5 March 2014.

 

In addition, the report also had regard to the revised budget timetable approved by Full Council at the meeting of 4 December under the council constitution Part 4, Section 6 – Budget and Policy Framework Rules.

 

The Chairman introduced the report highlighting that it was clear that the Council was facing another extremely challenging budget round and by the end of 2015/16, the grant would be reduced by nearly £44m. This reduction, coupled with financial pressures faced, would mean that savings of over £19m would have be found next year and further significant financial challenge would be faced in the following financial year 2015/16.

 

The challenges faced meant that difficult financial decisions had to be made, however the commitment to the creation of a vibrant city remained and the budget proposals outlined where investment in services would continue. The proposals further outlined a proposed council tax freeze for the next two years.

 

The consultation would be wide ranging and all feedback would be considered at the Cabinet meeting on 24 February 2014, and again when making final budget decision at Full Council on March 5.

 

Cabinet considered the report and RESOLVED to agree:

 

1. The following as the basis for the budget consultation and in light of the announcement of the local government provisional settlement for 2014/15:

a)  That the MTFS is set in the context of the council priorities;

b)  The Budget monitoring report as the latest probable outturn position for 2013/14;

c)  The draft revenue budget for 2014/15 and proposed cash limits for 2015/16 to 2023/24 (including the capacity bids and saving proposals);

d)  The draft capital programme for 2014/15 and proposed cash limits to 2023/24 and associated capital strategy, treasury strategy and asset management plan;

 e) The proposed council tax freeze in 2014/15 and 2015/16 with indicative increases for planning purposes of 2% for 2016/17 to 2023/24;

f)   To spend at the level of the Dedicated Schools Grant for 2014/15 to 2023/24;

 g)  The proposals for reserves and balances; and

 h)  Confirm the proposals for setting fees and charges for 2014/15.

 

2. That Cabinet approve the budget proposals as the basis to consult with Scrutiny, Staff, Unions, and Stakeholders;

3. That Cabinet have regard for the continuing uncertainty of national public finances, the impact that dwelling and business growth locally will have on future funding arrangements;

4. That Cabinet recognise the challenge to close a significant forecast gap of £18m in

  2015/16 and also the further gaps in later years; and

5. That Cabinet note that government Grants will not be confirmed until the final    settlement is released in February 2014.

 

          REASONS FOR THE DECISION

 

          i)   The Council must set a lawful and balanced budget;

ii)  The Council is required to set a Council Tax for 2014/15 within statutory prescribed timescales and in accordance with the local referendum requirements contained within the Localism Act 2011; and

iii) Before setting the level of Council Tax, the Council must have agreed a balanced budget.

 

 

          ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED

 

Alternative levels of Council Tax increase and areas for growth/savings could be considered but this must be seen in the context of the Sustainable Community Strategy and other constraints, along with the loss of council tax freeze grant that any increase would lead to.

 

Supporting documents: