Agenda item

Draft 2023-24 Budget; Council Tax Precept; and Medium Term Financial Plan 2023-28


The Treasurer presented a report that sought Members’ approval for the Authority’s budget for 2023-24, the Authority’s precept, as required by law, for 2023-24 and its Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2023-28.


The Authority was required to approve its budget and set the council tax precept for the financial year commencing 1st April 2023. The Authority was required to take into account Government funding, precept regulations and organisational demands.  This requirement was supported by the production of a MTFP with the annual budget forming the first year of the MTFP.  The creation and maintenance of the MTFP was fundamental in promoting good financial planning and delivery of value for money. The MTFP was Appendix 1 to the report.


Members had considered the Authority’s financial position at their Planning Day on 13th January 2023 where they had the opportunity to challenge the assumptions and proposals being put forward by officers as part of the draft budget and MTFP. 


The Treasurer indicated that the report followed a similar format to those that had been presented in previous years. 


The 2023-24 budget proposals were based on the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement as published on 19th December 2022.  The Settlement included the Government’s Funding Assessment and grant allocations for 2023-24 together with the Council Tax Referendum Principles that allowed for an increase in council tax of up to £5 at Band D without triggering a local referendum.  An increase in council tax precept of £5 at Band D was assumed; this would generate additional funding of £2.44m compared to 2022-23, based on the tax bases of Band D equivalent properties.  When all elements of funding were included, such as revenue support grant and business rate income, the overall net revenue budget would increase by £5.157m compared to the previous year, including a 2023-24 one off Service Grant of £368k.


The Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive and Chair had lobbied the Fire Minister and local MPs about the £5 referendum principle on Band D bills for fire and rescue authorities in the Local Government Finance Settlement. The Government had accepted the principle for 2023-24.


The Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive advised that the Grey Book pay offer, if accepted, would have an impact on the budget position going forward for all fire and rescue services.


A Member asked whether the environmental measures the Authority had included in its current station building and modernisation programme had been reflected in any savings in budgets.  In response, the Treasurer advised that he would respond to this question outside the meeting.


Members welcomed the informative report and thanked officers for their time in preparing such a detailed accessible report.




[1]      the Medium Term Financial Plan, as set out in Appendix 1 of the report be approved;


[2]      the Budget Requirement of £51.744m as set out in Table 1, paragraph 10 of the report be agreed, taking into account the adjustments for inflation, growth, one off items and savings as detailed in Appendix 2 of the report;


[3]      the proposed council tax increase of £5 at Band D (6.06%) be approved and Band D council tax precept of £87.48 be set for 2023-24;


[4]      the levels of council tax precept as set out in Table 2 paragraph 28 of the report be agreed;


[5]      the proposed capital programme for 2023-24 set out in Table 3 paragraph 30 of the report together with its associated financing be approved;


[6]      the Capital Strategy set out in Appendix 3 of the report be approved;


[7]      the Reserves Strategy set out in Appendix 4 of the report be approved;


[8]      the Statement of Robustness of Estimates set out in Appendix 5 of the report be noted; and


[9]      the Financial Health Targets as set out in paragraph 33 of the report be adopted.

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