37 2022/23 to 2026/27 Draft Budget PDF 407 KB
To consider the draft budget proposals for the financial years 2022/23 to 2026/27.
The Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder introduced the report and reminded Members that the situation was somewhat unusual as it was expected the Council would cease to exist from April 2023 as a result of LGR. However, he noted the importance of the draft budget as it would feed into the new unitary authority.
He continued by outlining some of the key details of the report, such as the small surplus in revenue budgets, that inflation had been accounted for with a 2% increase in fees and that an increase in Band D Council Tax was expected to be approved by Council.
He then spoke briefly about capital expenditure, noting that £16m was due to be spent on Grange Lido, Flood Defence schemes, car parks and playgrounds. He concluded by informing Members that whilst the Council’s remaining life was limited, it would continue to invest in residents and would be left in sound financial health. He once again thanked Officers for their hard work and looked to the Committee for questions and comments.
Members queried whether the Council’s current assets could generate additional income for residents prior to transitioning into the new unitary authority, and what would happen to assets during the transition.
The Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder responded by noting that the Council would likely be constrained in what it could do with its assets in the period leading up to LGR. He informed Members that a Section 24 Direction was expected to be issued by the Secretary of State to Cumbria authorities as part of the LGR process. It was anticipated that the Section 24 Direction would limit the Council’s ability to dispose of assets without approval from the Shadow Authority, in order to protect the finances of the new unitary authority. He continued, noting that any assets held by the Council would move to the new authority.
The Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder reminded Members that the Council would need to be careful not to undertake capital investment that may not be backed in future by the new unitary authority.
Members thanked the Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder for the update and noted the importance of keeping a watchful eye on the treatment of assets throughout the LGR process. Members wished to be continually briefed on such matters.
RESOLVED – That:-
(1) it be noted that the development of the Budget is an iterative process between now and Council on February 2022 and that the assumptions proposals and calculations included within it will be subject to change as more information from internal and external sources is provided and decisions around the final proposals can be made;
(2) the proposals contained in the report and Appendices to achieve a balanced budget from April 2022 be noted;
(3) that the proposals for Fees and Charges from April 2022 set out in the appendix be noted;
(4) that the expected balanced budget for 2022/23 and projected deficits starting at £2.2m in 2023/24 rising to circa £2.8m by 2026/7 be ... view the full minutes text for item 37