BUDGET PROCESS UPDATE
To receive an update on the current Medium Term Financial
Plan and Budget Timetable (copy enclosed).
The Head of Finance
introduced the budget process update report (previously circulated). It was
highlighted that in the attached appendix the figures quoted were slightly out
of date, due to the deadline for the reports. The figures included were a snapshot
at the time of writing.
Members were guided
to the timetable, which set out the tight timetable for the 2023/24 budget
process. It was confirmed that service budget meetings had concluded. The Head
of Finance stated he was pleased with delivery of those meetings and the
discussions that occurred.
On the 17th November – UK Government Autumn Statement was released. This
provided the authority with the next two years predicted budget. It was
stressed that the best case scenario was a disparity from expected government
funding and inflation and demographic pressures.
political groups had been arranged to discuss the budget process along with any
suggestions or concerns.
A Council workshop
had been arranged for the 17th January to brief members on the
potential proposals for the budget settlement for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The
proposals had included the use of cash reserves in 2024/25. This would allow
time for services to review and sought savings.
guided through the scenarios within the covering report. It was his opinion the
likely outcome would be in line with scenario one. Details of the two reserves
available for the purposes of supporting the budget were:
– Budget Mitigation
which currently stood at £4.85m
– Unearmarked reserves – an adopted policy to keep £5m unearmarked
observed. Currently the value stood at £7.1m.
heard there were a number of factors that could change depending on guidance
and figures from Welsh Government. He stressed the importance to begin the work
to review and find savings for 2024/25.
thanked the Head of Finance for the well written report. In response to members
comments the following points were discussed in greater detail:
noted the difficulty and challenges faced by the finance department and praised
the work of the officers involved.
proposed potential plan for 2024/ 25 was the RSG would rise by 3.5%, the
current proposal included council tax to rise by 3.8%- it was stressed the
figure was under review. An increase in fees and charges had been suggested
although a number of restrictions were associated with this proposal. It could
potentially change during the process.
Head of Finance confirmed he produced a 3-5 year
outlook. Future planning can often be difficult to predict due to the reliance
on Capital funding.
reserve funding was believed to be an appropriate level of funding. It had been
obtained from the analogy of 2% of net revenue expenditure. Within the
Statement of accounts, a detailed breakdown of all reserve funding was
detailed. This included some funding which was allocated for specific plans.
a recommended reserve of 4% for the Housing Revenue Account. This was currently
under review to potentially be lowered. Income received through this account
was mainly from rent so was easier to predict than the level of Capital
non domestic rate and business rate collection and reallocation was not based
on a local collection. Collections were made on behalf of Welsh Government that
was pooled together to aid support of the revenue support grant.
with local businesses to provide extra information on the budget would be needed.
Public understanding on the budget and services could also be improved. Consultation
had been difficult due to the uncertainty of the level of funding that would be
Visitor Levy was currently in consultation at Welsh Government, Denbighshire
had prepared and submitted a response. Concerns from officers had been on the delivery
of that potential scheme.
on the second homes council tax premium would be issued to members imminently. There
was no proposed change to the level for 2023/24, which currently stood at an
additional 50% tax.
members offered support to the Head of Finance, especially when difficult
decisions were made. The Head of Finance requested that members keep in mind
the financial background when reviewing reports and the potential knock on
impact on funding of other services in the council. The level of delivery of
services would have to change in the upcoming years. The current level of services
would not be an option if the current projections of funding were received in
Members thanked the
Head of Finance for the detailed response to members
concerns. Following the discussion, it was;
Noted and discussed the latest budget
timetable for setting the budget for 2023/24 and 2024/25;
Noted the latest budget forecasts for the
budget position for 2023/24 and 2024/25;
Agreed to include an update on the Budget
Process at the January 2023 meeting.