Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
To present a balanced budget for 2021-2022
aligned to council plan priorities and an updated Medium Term
Financial Strategy (MTFS) for the period up to 2023-2024, for
recommendation to Full Council.
That Council be recommended to approve:
1. The net budget requirement for 2021-2022 of £258.5 million for General Fund services (paragraph 10.1).
2. The Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2021-2022 to 2023-2024 as detailed in Table 4 and the budget preparation parameters underpinning the MTFS as detailed in Appendix 2 to the report.
3. A Council Tax for Council services in 2021-2022 of £1,765.49 for a Band D property, being an increase of 4.99% on 2020-2021 levels, which incorporates the 3% increase in relation to Adult Social Care, in line with Government expectations. (paragraph 8.4, Table 1).
4. That work starts on developing budget reductions and income generation proposals for 2022-2023 onwards in line with the Five Year Financial Strategy (paragraph 10.5).
5. Revisions to the local council tax support scheme (paragraph 8.7).
That Cabinet approves:
1. The updated assumptions used in the Budget 2021-2022 and the MTFS 2021-2022 to 2023-2024 as detailed in sections 7 and Appendix 1 to the report.
2. That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources, in consultation with the Director of Finance, to approve the calculation and allocation of growth in the central share of business rates for 2021-2022 and future years to be passported to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) (Appendix 1, paragraph 1.29).
3. That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources and Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, in consultation with Director of Finance and Director of Children’s and Adult Services, to approve changes to the local funding formula for Schools including method, principles and rules adopted (paragraph 12.4).
4. That authority continues to be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Resources in consultation with the Director of Finance to consider further opportunities to accelerate pension contribution payments to secure additional budget reductions (Appendix 1 paragraph 1.5).
5. That the external provider of Risk Based Verification (RBV) is no longer beneficial to the service and that the Council ceases to operate the external RBV system from 31 March 2021, using an in-house RBV approach to the verification of new Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support claims (paragraph 8.10).
That Cabinet notes:
1. That the budget for 2021-2022 is in balance without the use of general reserves (paragraph 10.1).
2. That, in the opinion of the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer), the 2021-2022 budget estimates are robust (paragraph 10.1).
3. That, in the opinion of the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer), the proposed levels of reserves, provisions and balances is adequate in respect of the forthcoming financial year (paragraph 11.4).
4. That a further £25.4 million needs to be identified for 2022-2023 rising to £29.6 million over the medium term to 2023-2024 in order to address the projected budget deficit (paragraph 10.5).
5. That, due to external factors, in particular the impact of Covid 19, budget assumptions remain subject to significant change, which could therefore result in alterations to the financial position facing the Council (paragraph 7.5).
6. That, there continues to be a considerable amount of uncertainty with regards to future funding streams for local authorities over the forthcoming multi-year Spending Review period. At the point that further information is known it will be incorporated into future reports to Councillors. Any reduction in the Government’s allocation of funding to the Council would have a significant detrimental impact and further increase the budget deficit forecast over the medium term (paragraph 7.20).
7. That, the overall level of risk associated with the 2021-2022 Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021-2022 to 2023-2024 is assessed as Red (paragraph 9.1).
8. That Councillors must have due regard to the public sector equality duty (Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010) when making budget decisions (paragraph 17.7).
Report author: Mohammed Hasan
Publication date: 18/02/2021
Date of decision: 17/02/2021
Decided at meeting: 17/02/2021 - Cabinet