The Business Support Team Leader introduced the second budget report of the evening, setting out the proposed budget for 2022/23 and the forecast budget for the following 4 years for services within both the Prosperous Communities and Corporate Policy and Resources Committees. The Prosperous Communities committee budgets were recommended to this committee for approval at their meeting in January. Members heard 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 approved throughout the year.
The net movement from the 2021/22 base budget was a decrease of £201,000, however this included an increase of £197,000 for approved use of earmarked reserves for projects as well as an increase in Pension Deficit contribution of £42,000. 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. The next actuarial review was due later in the year, which would provide the actual contribution rates for 2023/24 to 2025/26. For the purposes of the MTFP it had been estimated on a 1% increase in employer contribution rates every 3 years and an increase of 9% pa on the secondary contribution.
Excluding these items, there was a decrease of £440,000 from the 21/22 base budgets for services within this committee. This movement was made up of approved pressures, offset by increased income. A significant increase in expenditure related to movements within the establishment budgets of £174,000. 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, which was an increase in expenditure of around £149,000 for 2022/23.
There had also been an increase in National Insurance rates, which increased employee costs within the committee by around £29,000 per year, however the government had announced a grant to contribute towards this cost which had been rolled into the new Services grant.
Other significant movements are as detailed in section 2 of the report included covid support grants totalling £675,000 which were received in 21/22 with the corresponding expenditure budgets within this committee. This was for 21/22 only so these budgets had been removed from 22/23, resulting in a reduction in expenditure budgets of £675,000, offset by reduced grant income held outside of committee budgets, therefore there was no impact across council budgets as a whole. Investment property rental income had increased by (£39,000) to reflect contractual rent increases across the current portfolio and tenants and the Housing Benefits Admin grant had increased by (£35,000) as confirmed in the allocation letter from DWP received in December.
Members were advised that the budget for markets would be updated for the financial implications of the ‘Future of West Lindsey Markets’ report which had been presented earlier in the evening, before the draft budget was presented to Council in March.
Members were asked to approve the use of earmarked reserves for 2022/23 and 2023/24 to provide financial support to SLM leisure funded from the covid support reserves as detailed at section 4 of the report, and also to recommend the 2022/23 budgets for both committees to Council, for inclusion in the overall council budget for 2022/23.
The Chairman thanked the Officer and invited comments from the Committee. Members enquired as to the inclusion of climate and environmental sustainability criteria and it was explained that the following report on the agenda included this in greater detail but it was part of Officer considerations.
There was discussion regarding the capital budget for projects and confirmation that specific business cases would be presented to Members of the Committee for approval. It was highlighted that there was further information in the following report.
The Chairman read aloud the recommendations as printed and, having been moved and seconded, took the vote. With eight in favour and five abstentions, it was
a) the use of Earmarked Reserves for 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 to provide financial support to SLM Leisure, funded from the Covid Support Reserve as detailed at section 4, be approved;
b) the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee budget 2022/2023 be accepted and recommended to Council for inclusion in the overall Council budget 2022/2023;
c) the Prosperous Communities Committee Budget 2022/2023 be accepted and recommended to Council for inclusion in the overall Council budget for 2022/2023;
d) any minor changes be delegated to the Chief Finance Officer in consultation with the Chairman of the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee;
e) the 2023/2024 to 2026/2027 estimates for both this Committee and those of Prosperous Communities Committee be recommended to Council for inclusion in the Medium Term Financial Plan 2022/2023 to 2026/2027 (as amended by any decisions taken on this agenda).