To note issues associated with the policy and resources strategy and agree recommendations.
It was not possible to circulate this report five clear days in advance of the meeting. The chair agreed to consider this item urgently because the council was committed to publishing budget proposals at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure they were available to the public for comments and questions. Presenting the report to cabinet on 7 December 2021 gives the opportunity for debate prior to presentation of budget figures to cabinet on 18 January 2022. Under the council’s constitution, there is a requirement for the overview and scrutiny committee to review and challenge budget proposals and this is due to take place on January 2022.
1. That the outcome of the Spending Review delivered on the 27 October and that the provisional local government finance settlement is due to be published in December 2021 be noted (paragraphs 20-22 of the report).
2. That the intention is to prepare a balanced one year 2022-23 budget for approval by cabinet in advance of council assembly in February 2022 be noted.
3. That the budget proposals for 2022-23 contained within the report be noted which include:
· Estimated general grant resources of £162.806m, a headline increase of £10.288m on 2021-22 but with no detail yet on the new burdens this will cover, and significantly offset by reductions in other grant funding
· Other grant income of £71.698m, a reduction of £5.524m on 2021-22 largely as a result of the winding-down of the New Homes Bonus scheme
· Estimated retained business rates income of £17.042m, a decrease of £1.894m from 2021-22
· Estimated council tax revenues of £128.548m, including a council tax increase of 2.99% (1% adult social care precept and 1.99% general increase)
· A forecast deficit on the collection fund in 2021-22 of £3.079m after allowing for spreading adjustments – this will be offset by government funding set aside for this purpose
· Pay provision and contractual inflation of £6.9m.
4. That the draft updated Fairer Futures Budget Principles at Appendix G of the report be noted.
5. That it be noted that the Greater London Authority (GLA) is expected to increase its council tax precept and that given current circumstances, including Transport for London (TFL) finances, this increase could be significant.
6. That it be noted that the GLA council tax precept is due to be set on the 24 February, one day after council assembly sets the budget for Southwark, therefore a council tax setting committee will need to be convened.
7. That the current budget options proposed to help achieve a balanced 2021-23 budget (Appendices B to E of the report) be noted including:
· Efficiency savings of £6.962m
· Net income increase of £4.831m
· Savings impacting on services of £3.815m
· Commitments and growth of £17.677m.
8. That it be noted that, in order to ensure that the base budget is on a secure financial footing a number of commitments are proposed for 2022-23, including £6m for temporary accommodation.
9. That the updated budget gap for 2022-23 of £6.029m be noted.
10. That the draft fees and charges schedules at Appendix F of the report be noted.
11. That it be noted that officers will complete further work in light of the provisional settlement, when published, to present a fully balanced budget position for cabinet on 18 January 2022.
12. That the departmental narratives and the ongoing equality analyses of the budget proposals (Appendix A of the report) be noted.
13. That officers be instructed to undertake further consultation for new budget options where necessary or appropriate and
14. That it be noted that that the report to cabinet on 18 January 2022 will be considered by overview and scrutiny committee and that any recommendations arising will be incorporated into the final report to cabinet in February 2022 for recommendation to council assembly on 23 February 2022.