Note – In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and the consequential change to the Council’s Rules of Procedure, this item will automatically be subject to a recorded vote in respect of the adoption of the Budget and on any amendments proposed at the meeting.
To consider the recommendations from Cabinet to determine the Council’s Budget for 2022/23 onwards, including fees and charges, the Capital Programme, the Pay Policy Statement and the Chief Finance Officer’s Advice on the Robustness of Estimates and the Adequacy of Reserves.
The Deputy Leader and Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder, Councillor Andrew Jarvis, took pleasure in presenting the 49th and final budget of South Lakeland District Council. He was pleased to say that the budget showed that the Council continued to be in good financial health, continued to deliver a high level of services and would keep investing for the residents in its area. Councillor Jarvis drew attention to the unusual situation whereby this Council would not continue in its current form beyond 1 April 2023. However, it was still necessary for the Council to plan, agree and monitor a budget for next year while the Council retained its role. Furthermore, planning for subsequent years was an important input into building the budget of the new Westmorland and Furness Council.
The report firstly considered the Chief Finance Officer’s advice on the robustness of estimates and the adequacy of reserves under the requirements of the Local Government Act 2003.
After consideration of the above, Council was being asked to consider the recommendations from Cabinet to determine the Council’s 2022/23 Five Year Budget, including fees and charges, the capital programme and the pay policy statement. A balanced budget for 2022/23 was presented, including an increase in Council tax of 1.5%.
The expected outcome was that Council will be in a position to deliver the priorities set out in the Council Plan within its resources.
Cabinet, on 14 December 2021, had approved the re-profiling of the 2021/22 – 2025/26 capital budgets which formed part of the draft capital programme. The final draft revenue budget and capital programme had been considered by Cabinet on 9 February 2022. The local government finance settlement had been announced in late December and, as expected, delayed the reduction in income expected as part of reform of local government funding until at least April 2023.
The successful implementation of staffing changes as part of Customer Connect had permanently delivered savings of over £1.5m. However, subsequently, the Council had seen one-off costs around Covid-19 and Local Government Reorganisation, short-term, demand-driven pressures and inflation, particularly on fuel, which had created significant new pressures and gaps in the budget. The budget presented a balanced budget for 2022/23, with significant deficits from 1 April 2023. Options were being developed to balance future budget deficits.
Councillor Jarvis referred to Recommendation (5) in the report regarding the latest Collection Fund Estimates and advised that there were no changes to report regarding the Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Police element.
Councillor Jarvis summed up, saying that despite the many challenges faced by the Authority, this budget showed that the Council was entering into reorganisation in sound financial health, whilst not increasing Council Tax by the maximum permitted by statute. This confirmed the Section 151 Officer’s statement in Section 9.12 of the report.
Councillor Jarvis moved the recommendations contained within the report, thanking officers for their work on ensuring that the Council had a strong and robust programme and the Finance Team for preparing this budget. He ... view the full minutes text for item 105