Agenda item

Financial Prospects and Budget Strategy 2024/25 and Beyond


The Portfolio Holder presented the report which set out that this was the first report of the 2024/25 budget setting process in what was expected to be the most challenging financial position the council had faced for a decade and he had been working with officers on the budget over the summer.


It was intended that once again the Council used the 10-year financial planning approach and financial strategy which had proved successful to date and put the District Council in a much stronger financial position than most other Councils. The report was intended to start the debate and the assumptions would be updated if more accurate information becomes available. The key messages in the report were that the intention remains that the Council was aiming to continue to have a balanced 10-year budget, and that Members would be required to play a major role in reaching a successful outcome by putting forward their ideas during the process and accepting that some difficult decisions would be required.


The Chief Officer Finance & Trading advised that as stated in the 2023/24 budget process, additional savings and/or income would be required in the next budget process and so many of the items included in the report would not be a surprise and would generally be very similar to those mentioned in the Early Indications report presented at the last meeting. He, along with the Portfolio Holder for Finance & Investment had been working over the summer and in the background officers had started the budget process earlier this year, recognising that this was the biggest budget challenge the council had faced for many years. 


The report showed an annual budget gap of £1.368m. The make-up of this amount was detailed in Appendix C and further explanations were detailed in the report. Work was already being undertaken to find solutions to close the budget gap, and would be presented to the Advisory Committees but further ideas would be required. Undoubtedly there would be tougher decisions for Members to make than has been the case for many years. Members would need to be fully engaged in the budget process and a thorough review of fees and charges and a number of other budget related reports would also be brought to Finance & Investment Advisory Committee and Cabinet. He ran through some of the initial bad news items, but there were also some good news assumptions, including increased dividends from Quercus 7, additional interest receipts, and increased income from council tax.


Discussion from Cabinet centred on being fully supportive of the budget process and it was important that all Members were fully involved in the budget process and considering areas for savings and/or additional income.  It was important to note that there was a separate process for disposals and that the sale of capital receipts could only be used to fund other capital projects.



Public Sector Equality Duty

Members noted that consideration had been given to impacts under the Public Sector Equality Duty.


Resolved: That


a)      the ten-year financial planning approach, financial strategy and principles as set out in the report, be endorsed;


b)      the Advisory Committees, be requested to review the Service Dashboards and advise Cabinet of possible growth and savings options; and


c)      Officers, be requested to continue to review the assumptions in the report, and consider options to address the budget gap and report back to Cabinet on 14 December 2023.


Supporting documents:


Back to top