The Committee gave consideration to a report from the Business Support Team Leader, setting out the proposed budget for 2022/23 and the forecast budget for the following four years for services within the Prosperous Communities Committee. It was explained that the budgets excluded central support and capital charges in order to show the controllable cost of services only, and to aid year on year comparison. The figures included those pressures and savings which had been reported and approved throughout the year.
The net movement from the 2021/22 base budget for this Committee was an increase of £336,100 – however this included an increase of £41,500 for approved use of earmarked reserves for projects. It was highlighted that the details of use of reserves, and contributions to reserves, were contained within the report at Appendix 4. The movement also included an increase in Pension Deficit contribution of £48,900. The overall pension deficit had increased by £91,000 across both committees following the actuarial review in 2019, and was allocated to services on the basis of staffing levels.
Members heard that, excluding these items, there was an increase of £245,700 from the 21/22 base budgets for services within this committee.
This movement was made up of approved pressures, offset by increased income. The significant increase in expenditure related to movements within the establishment budgets of £441,800, details of which were provided at section 2.10 of the report. This included the impact of a 1.75% pay award for 21/22, which was yet to be agreed, and an estimated further 2% pay award for 22/23, both of which equalled a total increase in costs of around £204,000 for 2022/23.
There had also been an increase in National Insurance rates, which increased employee costs within the committee by around £41,000 per year, however the government had announced a grant to contribute towards this cost which had been rolled into the new Services grant.
It was explained that this increase in expenditure was offset by several areas of increased income, the most significant being:
· Green Waste Charging – additional income of £101,700 from subscription fees – the increase in income was offset by additional costs attributable to the service held within Corporate Policy and Resources Committee, as well as capital and central support costs which were excluded from this report
· Crematorium – an increase in projected income of £45,500 for 22/23 to reflect the anticipated level of demand and service operational costs.
· Development management – where the planning fee income had been reprofiled to reflect the local plan cycle, with an increase in income of £45,000.
The Business Support Team Leader highlighted that the budgets for the markets would be updated for the financial implications of the ‘Future of West Lindsey Markets’ report which had been presented earlier in the meeting, before the draft budget for this committee was due to be presented to Corporate Policy and Resources committee in February 2022.
Members were asked to note that there was a £400 budget for the business unit ‘Human Resources’ which had been included in report in error, it had subsequently been moved into the Corporate Policy and Resources budget.
It was summarised that Members were asked to recommend the draft 2022/23 budget to the Corporate Policy & Resource Committee for inclusion in the MTFP which was due to be reported to Full Council in March 2022.
Members enquired as to the impact of the proposed 1.75% pay rise and it was explained that, following the original announcement of a pay freeze, the subsequent offer of a pay award had not been included in the budget. To avoid this happening in the future, the estimated 25 had been included for 2022/23.
It was noted that the Government had suggested implementing free garden waste collections nationally and the impact this could have for the Council, however it was recognised this was, at this time, not a confirmed action.
A Member of the Committee enquired about details regarding ‘transfer payments’ and it was explained that, in regard to parish lighting, this should have been categorised as a third party payment and had been corrected for the report to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee.
In response to a request to discuss content of the exempt appendix, it was moved, seconded and vote upon and subsequently
RESOLVED that under Section 100 (A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Note: The meeting entered closed session at 8.25pm
Members enquired about the use of the earmarked reserves and it was confirmed that requests were processed through the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee via quarterly budget monitoring reports, with Members of that Committee being requested to approve or decline the requests, prior to the spending taking place. Suggested uses for earmarked reserves were raised, with the Business Support Team Leader confirming the process for approval of those spends being through the Committee system.
Note: The meeting resumed open session at 8.31pm
Having been moved and seconded, the Chairman took the vote and it was unanimously
RESOLVED that the Prosperous Communities Budget 2022/2023 and revenue estimates to 2026/2027 be recommended to Corporate Policy and Resources Committee for the purpose of budget setting 2022/2023 and for inclusion in the Medium Term Financial Plan 2022/2023 to 2026/2027 (as amended by any decisions taken on this agenda).